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The Daily Dirt, February 18: Gameday vs. Columbus

The Carolina Challenge Cup is here

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Dave Williamson Photography

First time against MLS competition today for Atlanta United as they face the Columbus Crew in the Carolina Challenge Cup. Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. and you will be able to watch the game live on both the Atlanta United website and the Charleston Battery website.

Adding to Rob Usry’s things to watch for today, here’s a few more:

  • There was a subtle difference between the first half and second half in Chattanooga. Chris McCann and Jeff Larentowicz started the first half in holding roles behind Miguel Almirón. In the second half, Carlos Carmona played by himself in a holding role behind Kevin Kratz and Julian Gressel. Which look will we see more of today? In the past, Martino has preferred a lone dedicated #6 when possible. Can Carmona be that player?
  • Gregg Berhalter has said that he expects some of his starters to play up to 70 minutes. In Chattanooga, no one in an Atlanta shirt played more than 45 minutes. Will we see that increase today?
  • Chattanooga is a team that likes to play direct and does not really want to hold the ball for extended periods of time. Columbus is the opposite. How will Atlanta cope with a team that wants to dominate in possession? The result is not the main priority today, but the tactical battle should be interesting to watch.

Domestic

In a shocking move on the eve of their preseason trip to Florida, FC Cincinnati relieves John Harkes of his coaching duties (Cincinnati Enquirer)

NYCFC beat Toronto FC out for Maxi Moralez (Yahoo)

New York Red Bulls chasing Panamanian international Amir Murillo (Metro)

DC United might start breaking open the checkbook this summer, now that their stadium is being built (Washington Post)

Herculez Gomez says that Chris Wondolowski is being underutilized by Dominic Kinnear (ESPN)

International

Pep Guardiola wants to see fewer games played for the sake of the players (Independent)

Could Manchester United sell Wayne Rooney before the end of the Chinese Super League transfer window on Feb. 28? (Telegraph)

Local

Atlanta United has playoff expectations in 2017 (SI)