Atlanta United transfer target, and Middlesbrough FC backup netminder, Brad Guzan made a start in the team’s first match of the new year against Leicester City. Usual starter Victor Valdes suffered an injury in the team’s match against Manchester United last week. Guzan played well and saved all four shots that were fired at him leading his team to a clean sheet. Both teams displayed their defensive prowess at blocking crosses and for his part Guzan controlled the penalty area well. Blame it on tired legs due to the busy holiday schedule, or on two struggling teams desperate to climb the table, but the game itself was a tactical battle that produced few chances and little excitement.
As far as Atlanta United is concerned Guzan starting and earning Boro only its 6th clean sheet of the season could create a keeper controversy at Riverside Stadium. The Smoggies are 16th in the EPL table and were only 4 points ahead of Northern England rivals Sunderland for the last spot in the relegation zone to start the day. Valdes missed the match after sustaining a knock while colliding with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in their game New Year’s Eve and it is likely that he was kept out of the line-up due to the short time between games. Still, with silly season in full swing and Atlanta United already feeling the sting of losing a top transfer target recently, the club and supporters should not take anything as a given as the lineup takes shape.