So its been awhile since the last Turned Up. Let’s recap what’s gone down since Christmas:
- Greg Garza arrived on loan
- Yamil Asad arrived on loan
- ATLUTD took Miles Robinson and Julian Gressel in the first round of the Super Draft
- A crap ton of rumors happened, including the potential of signing LUCAS BIGLIA (lol)
- We signed Gonzalez Pirez
- We signed Brad Guzan
- We signed Josef Martinez
- We signed Carlos Carmona
In short, it has been a helluva Winter.
Atlanta United’s first team plays a match in five days.
With apologies to editor Rob for mooching on his countdown joke, this is going to be quite the week.
So much so that we can actually speculate about an actual lineup that will take the pitch in a MA-TTER OF DAYS. It’s all happening people.
In that spirit, we’ve gotta ask: just how will Atlanta United line up on Saturday against Chattanooga FC?
That’s not exactly what this column is about. I get it; we should try and predict that lineup. But I have no idea how much time Carmona and Martinez will need to get acclimated to the squad. I also have no idea how comfortable Tata will be in throwing out very very recent signings. It is, after all, a friendly against an amateur squad, but that’s not to say that Tata doesn’t want to throw out the kids rather than the Thoroughbreds.
[Writer’s Note: I don’t like comparing people to horses but I feel like its a good analogy here. Still, people aren’t horses. Remember that.]
Let’s all recall that I don’t do speculation anymore. It’s bad and I won’t suffer it. We only deal with players signed to the squad so that I don’t get killed on Twitter over putting Oscar Romero in the starting XI.
Still, I can’t help it. The best XI ought to start on Saturday, right? So who makes the cut? Here’s what I got:
There is no doubt in my mind that Villalba and Almiron will start on Saturday. They’ve had a literal Twitter Bromance going since the New Year and I just gotta think that this means we’re going to see both of them from the first minute onward.
So here’s the thing—I think we see something that more resembles a 4-2-3-1 rather than the usual Tata 4-3-3. I think we see McCann and Carmona as the D-Mid’s because McCann has been there from Day One and Tata believes in Carmona more than he believes in Larentowicz.
Garza, Pirez, Parkhurst, and Mears are the pretty obvious back line.
The attack is spear-headed by Almiron at the 10. Villalba on the right wing. Jones up top. And I think we’ll probably see our THIRD MAN in the starting lineup. Hence, Josef Martinez plays wide left.
Alec Kann is in net.
How might I be wrong?
Let me count the ways.
Martinez might play up top. We keep thinking Kenwyne is 100% solid as the target man but there’s no saying that Tata doesn’t drop him to the bench, play Martinez, and start Yamil Asad in the midfield.
Speaking of Asad, he could start as the attacking option playing off Almiron in the midfield while keeping the same top 3. That drops McCann or (more likely) the newly-signed Carmona to the bench. Or Martinez doesn’t start at all, keeping Kenwyne up top, Almiron out to the left, and opening up another spot in the midfield, which leads us to...
Julian Gressel, the pride of Neustadt an der Aisch, really might see the pitch on Saturday. He’s had a good camp, has gotten lots of buzz, and is a decent fit at a position that I, honest to God, have no idea what the hell to do with—that second attacking midfielder. Gressel is young, talented, and fast. Tata might start him.
But then there’s also Kevin Kratz. He has technically been signed to the team longer than even Chris McCann so he might get a start to shock us all.
But then there is also also the savvy MLS veteran, Jeff Larentowicz.
We could see Carmona and Larentowicz lying deep in the midfield with all the rest of the attacking talent we’ve come to expect from this team playing up top.
One thing to get psyched about though: LOOK AT THIS DEPTH. There are so many names to get excited about in this squad. Carleton, Vazquez, Williams, Walkes, Otoo, Goslin, Robinson. All or none of them could see the pitch in less than a week. All or none of them could be on the roster when the Red Bulls come to Bobby Dodd.
This might really be good, you guys.
Or it could be terrible.
We are a franchise from Georgia, after all.
Anyways, happy speculating!