With the first game of the Carolina Challenge Cup behind them - a 2-1 loss to Columbus Crew SC - Atlanta United FC looks to pick up a result on the second day of the tournament as they follow the Charleston Battery’s match with Columbus. Their opponent, Seattle Sounders FC, fresh off their first ever MLS Cup, features USMNT vet Clint Dempsey and one of the league’s (and national team’s) rising stars in Jordan Morris. Let’s get you ready for tomorrow’s match by taking a look at what to watch for.
Same old, same old?
I’d expect both sides to use the same starting XI that they used in game one of the CCC, with maybe a few minor modifications. Yamil Asad and Zach Loyd were among the notables that were injured and unavailable for Saturday’s match. With Loyd at the end of the expected 2-3 week timetable that was given for recovering from his groin injury, I’d expect him to see him come on as a very late sub just to ease him back into action.
Tactically, Tata Martino’s lineup was technically a 4-2-3-1 on Saturday but saw Miguel Almiron start at the left wing and Josef Martinez grouped along with Tito Villalba on the right side behind Kenwyne Jones, so it wasn’t a 4-2-3-1 in a strictly pure formational sense. It could take a more traditional shape on Wednesday depending on Asad’s status. On Saturday, the Villalba/Martinez duo gave Atlanta its only goal of the day against Columbus on a nice give and go by Martinez to Villalba, who gave it back to Martinez for the diving header goal. It was a nice bit of skill on both ends as it showcased Villalba’s passing ability and Martinez’s awareness. That makes the decision to start either Asad - if healthy - or Martinez a little difficult.
Will we see Miles Robinson?
We didn’t see Miles Robinson at any point of the match on Saturday, which is a little surprising. I think we do see Robinson to some extent tomorrow night, but as a late game (60ish minute) sub. With a quality group already in place on the back line in Greg Garza, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst, Tyrone Mears, Mark Bloom and Zach Loyd (nursing a groin injury), he was never going to break into the starting lineup, but should push for time in the latter third of the game to help the key defenders stay fresh.
It’s only preseason
You probably heard already, but Seattle drew Charleston 1-1 on Saturday. It’s important that regardless of the result, keep in mind that at the end of the day, the results don’t officially count. However, that gives the two teams a chance to get another close look at who will make up their starting XI and see time on the first team roster when First Kick comes around in about a week and a half.