After a very unfortunate loss in Montreal last week, Atlanta United will look to rebound against a resurgent Real Salt Lake. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez will miss Saturday’s match due to his questionable red card suspension, so who will be called on to help the Five Stripes bring three points back to Atlanta? Here is the definite, surefire lineup for April 22nd.*
*I’m probably wrong.**
**If anyone’s keeping count, only two of my six predictions have been correct. Let’s try and steer the ship this week.
Formation: 4-3-3. This has been Tata Martino’s preferred formation since Josef Martinez’s injury.
Goalkeeper: Alec Kann. He’s been very good this season. It’s going to be a little awkward when Brad Guzan arrives.
Left Back: Greg Garza.
Center Back #1: Anton Walkes. He came on last week to fill the void left by Pirez, and did a solid job. Walkes has been the preferred center back substitute over Miles Robinson, so expect him to be named to the starting XI.
Center Back #2: Michael Parkhurst.
Right Back: Tyrone Mears. He was a late scratch against the Impact due to an ankle injury, but Mears will hopefully be fit come Saturday. If not, Bloom did a decent job last week considering he was thrown into the lineup at a moment’s notice.
Center Midfielder #1: Jeff Larentowicz.
Center Midfielder #2: Carlos Carmona.
Attacking Midfielder: Julian Gressel. We interrupt this story to bring you a “Missing Person” Update. If you’ve seen a man named Julian Gressel the past two weeks, please let Atlanta United officials know.
Description: Blonde, German, wears #24, is sometimes referred to as “Gresselmania”.
In all seriousness, Gressel needs to get back on track after a below average showing the last two matches. When he’s active in the attack, Atlanta is much more dangerous.
Left Winger: Miguel Almiron. He’s soooooo good.
Right Winger: Yamil Asad. Let’s see how he responds after being out for a week.
Striker: Hector Villalba. He’s really improved from his poor start to the season. He assisted Kenwyne Jones’ goal in Montreal, and has left his mark on the stat sheet the past two matches. Although his involvement in the Atlanta attack was, for the most part, minute in the second half against the Impact, that mostly had to do with the defensive tactics implemented by Martino when they went a man down. When he’s free to get up the pitch, Villalba is fun to watch.
Let’s be honest, we were all very happy to see Jones score last week. It wasn’t just because it put Atlanta United on the score sheet, but because, well...Kenwyne is awesome. I don’t really know how else to put it. We were all glad to see him finally get the opportunity to start and make a difference.
Although I don’t expect to see his name on the lineup sheet this time, Jones will certainly be motivated to score again during his almost inevitable appearance as a substitute.
To recap, here’s my projected starting XI against Real Salt Lake.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.