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The Daily Dirt, February 16: Preseason grinding

Starting lineups being determined in Charleston for Columbus and Atlanta

Dave Williamson Photography

Atlanta United’s first opponent in Charleston will be the Columbus Crew. After falling in the MLS Cup final in 2015, the Crew suffered through a disappointing ninth place finish in the Eastern Conference in 2016. Gregg Berhalter started his preseason in Brazil and will head to Charleston on Thursday.

His primary goal in the Carolina Challenge Cup is to finalize his starting lineup. He will do a split squad on Saturday, with half of his team scrimmaging Costal Carolina University in the morning ahead of the CCC match with United at 4:30 p.m.

The Massive Report cites central back and the middle of midfield as two areas where positions are up for grabs in Charleston. Artur, who will be joining the Crew on loan from Sao Paulo in his native Brazil, will likely be in the mix in the midfield and could make his first appearance for Columbus against Atlanta on Saturday. Goalkeeper is another spot that remains undecided, with Zack Steffan and Brad Stuver battling for the starting position.

The future starting lineup will be on Tata Martino’s mind as well in Charleston. After a strong performance in Chattanooga, can Yamil Asad continue to push his way into a starting role. If he does, who sits in the midfield? Will Carlos Carmona and Josef Martinez start on Saturday? These questions are coming from a position of strength, but they are still things for Martino to sort out by the end of the month.


Domestic

Portland Timbers are rounding into form with a 2-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps in preseason, check out Diego Valeri’s goal:

San Jose Earthquakes fall to NASL’s San Francisco Deltas in a preseason match (Mercury News)

Toronto FC blasts NASL’s Miami FC 6-1 in Orlando (Miami FC)

Minnesota United draws 3-3 with Real Salt Lake in preseason in Portland (E Pluribus Loonum)

Sacha Kljestan picks up where he left off in a strong New York Red Bulls preseason win over NYCFC (Empire of Soccer)

Orlando City sees progress after scrimmage with Philadelphia Union (Orlando Sentinel)

International

Texan Brooks Fergerson trying to make a name for himself at Santos Laguna in Liga MX (ESPN)

Local