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5 Stripes fly high Saturday night, playoff positioning update, and more: Starting Lineup, Sept 25

by Jason Longshore

1- I feel like we've said this quite a bit since the Leagues Cup tournament ended, but Atlanta United put up one of their best performances of the year in a 4-1 win over Montreal on Saturday night. Goals from Xande Silva, Thiago Almada, Giorgos Giakoumakis, and Edwin Mosquera paced the 5 Stripes who had 64% of the possession, outshot Montreal 17-11, and converted on 3 of their 4 big chances that were created. They stuck with it after being denied the opening goal for half of an hour, responded after conceding to cut the lead to 2-1, and put the game away. (📷: @photosbyysofia)

2- With the rest of the week's results, Atlanta United finds themselves in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, level on points with three other teams and two points behind second place Orlando. If the season ended as the table currently stands, Atlanta would be in a best of three first round series with Philadelphia, and the Union would hold the home field advantage for the third match if necessary.

3- It was one of my Tools to the Match on the 5 Stripes Countdown, feed Xande Silva early and often. It felt like he hadn't seen as much of the ball in his most recent appearances and when he's playing with confidence and swagger, the rest of the team does as well. Xande was our Man of the Match with an incredible performance as he scored the opening goal, dribbled past the goalkeeper to create Thiago Almada's goal a few minutes later, and was dangerous on the dribble all night long. With all of the headliners on this squad, sometimes we can forget about Silva's importance and he showed how vital he can be on Saturday night. (📷: @photosbyysofia)

4- One of the more impressive aspects of Saturday's win was the quality with which Atlanta United passed the ball. When your game model is based on possession and using it to create space and opportunities, you have to be effective passing the ball. The team successfully passed at over eight percentage points higher than what Montreal has allowed opponents to do this season. Matheus Rossetto led the way at 79 completions out of 83 attempted passes. Tristan Muyumba, Luis Abram, Caleb Wiley, Thiago Almada, and Miles Robinson all passed at a higher rate than the team average. Impressive work on the ball from the 5 Sripes on Saturday night.

5- In other MLS results this weekend...

NYCFC moved into a wild card spot with their 3-0 win over Toronto yesterday (game was postponed from Saturday night due to a water main break near Red Bull Arena, where NYCFC was renting for the evening) combined with DC United's wild 5-3 loss to the New York Red Bulls. DC is now one point out of the wild card positions, Red Bulls and Chicago are three points back, Charlotte is four points back, and Miami is five points back.

In the Western Conference, second place LAFC and eighth place San Jose are separated by four points. Dallas is holding onto the last wild card spot and is trailed by Kansas City (one point back), Minnesota (two points), Austin (four points), and the LA Galaxy (five points).

6- US Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker confirmed that USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter and Gio Reyna have spoken and are "in a good place to move forward" ahead of October friendlies. Reyna has recently returned to training for Borussia Dortmund after a summer injury and has been an unused substitute for their last two matches. In October, the USMNT will host Germany in Connecticut and Ghana in Nashville.

7- Megan Rapinoe played her final match for the USWNT last night in Chicago as they defeated South Africa 2-0 at Soldier Field. Trinity Rodman continued her strong play with another goal, Emily Sonnett's looping header was the second for the US. Mia Fishel made her debut for the USWNT on the night and the team held South Africa to no shots on goal for the evening.

8- Big wins for Georgia State soccer over the weekend as the men went to Columbia, SC and defeated Tony Annan's Gamecocks 1-0 in a hard fought Friday night affair, Simon Carlson scored the lone Panthers goal. The women followed up their road conference win from Thursday with a home 3-0 win over Coastal Carolina yesterday afternoon as freshman Aaliyah Faddoul scored her sixth and seventh goals of the season, while also notching her third assist.

9- In other women's college action around the state yesterday...

#22 Georgia went on the road in SEC play and held on for a 2-1 win at Missouri. Georgia Southern (2-1 to Old Dominion) and Kennesaw State (3-1 to Eastern Kentucky) fell in conference play on Sunday. Mercer earned a 1-1 draw with UNCG in Macon, Jada Moorman scored her ninth goal of the year.

10- Cambridge HS grad and Florida State freshman Jordynn Dudley opened the scoring for the Seminoles at UNC on Sunday before a wild match ensued. Florida State found the equalizer to earn the 3-3 draw in the final second of the match. Check out the highlights below:

11- On this day in 1990, INXS released the album "X". The lead single was a monster hit worldwide and inspired by a blonde wig worn by Michael Hutchence's girlfriend Kylie Minogue with the color described as "suicide blonde". Enjoy your Song of the Day:

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