It hasn't taken long for Atlanta United to make an impression in MLS.
Atlanta will provide the Chicago Fire with an early season test on Saturday. Both upstart teams are hoping to break into the postseason and Saturday's match in Atlanta will be a good early measuring stick.
"It's going to be a tough game," said Fire forward Michael de Leeuw, who said he watched both of Atlanta's games. "Full stadium I hope. And they're new. What they showed to now is good football. We're enjoying to go play against them, but we also started well so we're not scared or anything. I think it's going to be a great game."
Atlanta put up a six spot on Minnesota last Saturday in Minnesota's home opener in snow. Josef Martinez had a hat trick and Miguel Almiron had two goals and an assist. Those two 23-year-olds will be key players to watch for Atlanta, but they're not the only talents on the team.
Hector Villalba and Yamil Asad, a pair of 22-year-old, speedy South American attackers, will also put the Fire's defense under pressure.
"Obviously they like going forward as fast as possible," midfielder Arturo Alvarez said. "We just got to make sure that we're organized defensively. At the same time I think we can hurt them. They will make turnovers. We just got to make sure that we're taking advantage of those."
While Atlanta's speed in attack definitely caught the attention of Fire players, so did the crowd of more than 55,000 for the season opener against the New York Red Bulls, a 2-1 win for the Red Bulls.
"The fans, the first game I watched on TV, looked pretty wild so I think the guys are looking forward to the fight and the challenge," defender Brandon Vincent said.
The challenge is stopping a talented team with a big crowd despite the Fire's lack of road success in the past two years. The Fire have one win on the road since the start of the 2015 season, although the season opened with a 1-1 draw at Columbus.
"Obviously they have an attacking-oriented team," coach Veljko Paunovic said. "They have very fast players, pace, control of the ball, high technical skills in their players. So it's going to be a very, very difficult game for us."
Expect the Fire to have a similar, if not identical, starting lineup to the one against Real Salt Lake last weekend. Matt Polster remains out with a knee injury, as is forward David Arshakyan (quad). Defender Zach Loyd is the only listed injury for Atlanta.