One more preseason game to go before Atlanta United begins its preparation for the New York Red Bulls and the MLS season opener. Tomorrow night, United plays the finale of the Carolina Challenge Cup against the host Charleston Battery.
The AJC’s Doug Roberson wrote yesterday that Atlanta is expected to field many of its players who have not seen much action in the tournament so far. One area that might see some change is the backline. Greg Garza, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Michael Parkhurst, and Tyrone Mears have started every game thus far. Pirez has played 90 minutes in both games, with the others coming out at halftime or in the second half. After his solid second half performance on Wednesday, Miles Robinson could be in line for more playing time tomorrow to spell Pirez.
Kyle Reynish has been in camp throughout the preseason, but has not signed a contract with the team yet. A decision will need to be made on his status quickly ahead of the MLS roster compliance deadline next week. With Alex Tambakis seeing action with the Battery throughout the tournament, Reynish’s addition could be imminent.
Jeff Larentowicz has played into the second half in both games in Charleston and could be in line for limited minutes or a day off tomorrow. Carlos Carmona is back in training after a visa issue and could see his first action of the tournament tomorrow. Miguel Almiron and Tito Villalba could also see a shorter shift tomorrow as they have played a good bit so far in Charleston.
It all comes down to how many changes Tata Martino wants to make. He could opt for minimal changes in order to build continuity, or he could decide to rest key players a week ahead of the season opener. There is also the possibility of some of his reserves seeing action for the Battery, as they have in the first two games of the tournament.
We’ll see tomorrow when the lineups are posted at around 6:30 p.m....
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