Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin has played soccer for long enough now that he doesn't get hung up on any one thing. That's even true when the one thing is the two-game extra suspension that followed the first red card of his 14-year professional career.

"It's weird for me," Medunjanin said. "I'm happy to be back, hopefully Saturday, to help the team."

He shouldn't need to worry about whether he'll play. While the Union routed the Vancouver Whitecaps, 4-0, in one of the games Medunjanin missed, his absence was clearly felt in the other two: a 2-0 loss at home to Toronto FC on June 8 and this past Saturday's 4-1 loss at Los Angeles FC.

"We need to stay focused, concentrate, to play every game at full speed, because if one or two guys are off we're going to have problems against any team," he said. "It cannot be only one game and then the second game is a contrast."

Coincidentally, Medunjanin will return to the field when the Union host the team he got sent off against. Atlanta United visits Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday (7 p.m., 6ABC), and, as was the case last month, they are the best team in MLS. The Union are in eighth place in the East, fighting for the conference's last playoff spot.

"We are motivated, especially with what happened in their stadium," Medunjanin said. "We need to always play with the confidence that we are the better team, and if we do that, we will always have a chance against any team."

That's easier said than done against Atlanta and Medunjanin knows it. Miguel Almiron is one of MLS' best playmakers, and Josef Martinez is the league's top scorer. But the Union might be helped by Atlanta having to play at FC Dallas on Wednesday before coming here.

"They will come not that fresh to our game, and if we play 100 percent this game, press them, don't let their main guys get on the ball, that's the key," Medunjanin said.

Against Vancouver, the Union showed their press can be quite effective. Just as importantly, they showed they can play some attractive soccer when they have the ball. If they can do that against Atlanta, it will be a big statement.

"For us, it's to be patient and keep the ball away from them," Medunjanin said. "And if we create something, it needs to go in. Against this kind of team, you will get maybe one, two chances, and you need to be ready for that."