Gonzalo Pineda insists Atlanta United "are on the right path" as they look to get back to winning ways in MLS.

The Five Stripes are 12th in the Eastern Conference following a run of eight matches without victory.

Although, they enjoyed a reprieve in the U.S. Open Cup last time out, defeating Charleston Battery on penalties to reach the quarter-finals.

And Pineda hopes his side can build on that momentum when they welcome Los Angeles to the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

"I think we are on the right path," he said. "I think it is really encouraging for the team, for the mentality of the team, to win. 

"There are many positives out of that. We have to hold onto that positivity, and the mentality of the players that fought and put that together on Saturday."

"I think that, especially being at home, we need to make sure we are on the front foot right away," midfielder Dax McCarty added.

"Obviously, our stadium is such a fortress. When you score an early goal, you get everyone excited and the other team feels that pressure, which is such a benefit."

By contrast, LAFC are fifth in the West and on a four-match winning streak across all competitions – during which they have scored 11 goals and conceded just once.

"The team is in a good way – winning games, scoring goals and not conceding – and we'd like to continue that," head coach Steve Cherundolo said.

"We feel good about the moment we're in, and our players are confident. 

"The players have shown an amazing response [to their defeat by San Jose Earthquakes at the start of the month]. We were shooting ourselves in the foot by making some mistakes in portions of the field where we don't usually do that.

"The message was that we are really in control of our own destiny, which is a great place to be."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Atlanta United – Thiago Almada

Atlanta will be hoping for inspiration from the likes of Almada as they look to end their winless streak.

The Argentina international has scored in two of their last three league games on home soil.

Los Angeles FC – Denis Bouanga

Bouanga scored both goals in LAFC’s 2-0 win over St. Louis City last time out in MLS.

He has now found the net 33 times since the start of last season (including play-offs), seven more than any other player during that time.

MATCH PREDICTION: LOS ANGELES FC

Only once in their MLS history have Atlanta endured a longer winless streak, going 12 straight games without victory between May and August 2021.

Meanwhile, LAFC have won successive games to nil for the first time during the regular season since August 2022.

That came after they recorded just one victory while keeping a clean sheet in their previous 21 such matches.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Atlanta United: 38.2%
Los Angeles FC: 32.8%
Draw: 29.0%

Pat Noonan will not let his FC Cincinnati team get too high following Saturday's memorable win over their rivals Columbus Crew, warning Atlanta United will offer them a stern test on Wednesday.

Cincinnati recorded a huge 2-1 road win over the MLS Cup holders last time out, with Kevin Kelsy and Luciano Acosta on target.

That victory – their fourth in a row – kept them three points behind Inter Miami at the Eastern Conference summit, but Noonan says any drop-off in midweek will be punished.

"The sign of a good team is when you have a poor performance or result, how do you respond to it and come back and have a better performance, or have a better result?" Noonan said.

"On the other side, when you have a good performance, how do you respond to that? Obviously, we have a short turnaround against a difficult opponent who we've just seen.

"If we don't turn it around the right way and if we're not prepared for Atlanta, we'll get humbled very quickly. Just like we can't get too low with bad performances, we can't get too high."

Atlanta, meanwhile, are 12 points behind Cincinnati in 10 th place, having been beaten 3-2 by D.C. United on Saturday.

They also lost 2-1 to Cincinnati when the sides last met in April, with two goals in two second-half minutes handing the Orange and Blue a comeback victory.

Asked what he would look to change ahead of Wednesday's rematch, boss Gonzalo Pineda said: "Simplify the message. It's about putting the players in a position to succeed, giving them tools, and the message that sometimes less is more."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

FC Cincinnati – Luciano Acosta

Acosta has scored in four consecutive games, tied for the longest goalscoring streak in MLS play in Cincinnati's history.

He also had a four-game streak last June while Brandon Vazquez did so between July and August in 2022. Will he break new ground on Wednesday?

Atlanta United – Thiago Almada

Almada scored from the penalty spot against D.C. last time out, with one of his five shots in the game.

He has recorded five MLS games this year with at least five attempts at goal, with only Denis Bouanga (eight) and Lionel Messi (six) having more. He also netted his team's only goal when they last faced Cincinnati on April 20.

MATCH PREDICTION – FC CINCINNATI WIN

Atlanta are unbeaten in five all-time trips to Cincinnati in MLS, recording two wins and three draws there. Cincinnati are the only team the Five Stripes have visited more than twice without ever losing in MLS play.

However, Atlanta have only won two of their last 23 away games in all competitions (10 draws, 11 defeats) in a run dating back to late March 2023. No MLS team has fewer away wins in all competitions in that time.

Cincinnati have won their last four games and could set a new team record for successive victories here. With home advantage on their side, they are favourites to do so.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

FC Cincinnati: 45.4%
Atlanta United: 26.9%
Draw: 27.7%

Atlanta United picked up a critical win in their quest for the MLS play-offs, defeating Orlando City 3-0 Friday to give Gonzalo Pineda his first win as head coach. 

George Campbell headed home the opener in the 25th minute for his first MLS goal and Atlanta benefitted from an own goal by Daryl Dike in the 38th. 

Ezequiel Barco ended any suspense by netting in the 72nd minute after taking a long ball and working his way laterally across the penalty area before firing home with his right foot.

The emphatic win leaves Atlanta level on points with D.C. United, who remain seventh in the Eastern Conference on goal differential.

In Western Conference play, Portland defeated Vancouver 1-0 thanks to a 66th-minute own goal by Ranko Veselinovic. 

Felipe Mora's low drive from the right side got past Vancouver goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau and appeared headed for the net, but it was Veselinovic who made sure it got there with a failed clearance.

Portland moved past Minnesota and into fifth in the conference with the victory, while Vancouver remained just outside play-off position, one point adrift of Real Salt Lake.

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