The Oscar Romero dream is dead and it is probably my fault.
Yes, I, your lineup speculation spirit guide have done you a great harm, oh innocent Atlanta United fan who also inconceivably reads my posts. I have done wrong and neglected to do right.
You see after the soccer intelligentsia reported that a deal was on the verge of being finalized to make Romero ATLUTD’s third DP I immediately took to Twitter to take what felt like a much-deserved and exuberant victory lap. I had called out Romero as a great signing for ATLUTD in June and they were going to grab a player that was, frankly, even better than the “next Giovinco.”
But, alas, China showed up and crapped all over my dreams with copious amounts of cold, hard cash turds.
Since this will probably be my last post of the year I thought a New Year’s resolution might be in keeping with the spirit of the season. So I’m going to resolve at least for this post (and probably only this post but who knows) to ONLY use players we’ve signed in my projected XI.
I HATE THIS.
But still, it will be useful if for no other reason than it will give you an inkling into how some of those “depth” players might feature in Tata Martino’s tactical system. I’m not Tata Martino (just in case you needed a reminder) so I’m not the absolute authority on how he sees each player melding into his vision of proper soccer. But I’m gonna do my best and hopefully not lead to further calamity for the club we love.
Anywho, here’s how I think ATLUTD could line up after their recent batch of new signings and the death of the Romero rumors:
What’s that you say? It’s reported that Greg Garza will be coming to ATLUTD?!
HOPE IS FALSE AND I SHALL NOT SUFFER IT.
Oh wait, Brad Guzan is probably still a near done deal?
ALL MEN ARE DUST AND TO DUST THEY SHALL RETURN.
Yamil Asad is reportedly coming on a loan-to-buy deal?
I SAY NAY, GOOD SIR. NAY.
We are nothing but chalk in here. Nothing. But. Chalk.
We signed a veteran midfielder in Jeff Larentowicz so he’s in the starting lineup. Chris McCann, it turns out, can play left back and he is probably better than Mikey Ambrose so he’s pushed back until we sign a starter in that position. Gone are Milton Valenzuela and Maximiliano Polachi from the back line because until I see their signed contracts with my own eyes they might as well be ghosts. Alec Kann is in goal.
Andrew Carleton appears on the left wing for the first time. Obviously he’s there because he’s a winger and he has signed on the dotted line while buying a frosted orange at the Varsity. But he also appears because I have a suspicion. Have you noticed that ATLUTD keep using him in promotional things? Sure he looks good in the kit (who doesn’t?), but it appears that the front office is trying to get Carleton in these things because they know he matters. That strikes me as odd if they don’t plan on making him a part of the first team at least for the first part of the MLS campaign. I’m probably wrong and he’ll be loaned to Charleston before March rolls around, but if I am wrong about this at least I will only be wrong about a player that actually exists on our roster.
Most of the other positions are unchanged. Almiron attacks from the #10. Kenwyne up top. Tito on the right. Kratz slots into the center of midfield. Bloom, Parkhurst, and Loyd anchor a very basic looking MLS defense. And while out attack still looks pretty exceptional, that back line begins to make one feel a bit of dread at the thought of Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan coming to town.
Here’s the bench, updated after the release of Junior Burgos and the addition of Jacob Peterson: Alexander Tambakis (GK), Mikey Ambrose (D), Chris Goslin (MF), Harrison Heath (MF), Jeffrey Otoo (FW), Jacob Peterson (FW), Brandon Vazquez (FW), Romario Williams (FW).
Happy Holidays and Happy Speculating, everyone!
See you all in 2017!