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Predicting Atlanta United’s starting lineup at Portland Timbers

Let’s steer the ship, gents.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at New York City FC Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After what was undoubtedly the worst performance in Atlanta United’s short history, they’ll look to get back to their winning ways as they travel to Cascadia to take on the Portland Timbers. Yamil Asad likely returns to the lineup after his suspension, but will there be any other changes from last week’s XI?

For the first time since the Chicago Fire match, I got the entire lineup correctly. Let’s keep this hot streak going. Here is the definite, surefire lineup for May 14th.*

*I’m probably wrong.**

**If anyone’s keeping count, three of my nine predictions have been correct.

Formation: 4-3-3.

Goalkeeper: Alec Kann. It’s easy to look at Atlanta United conceding six goals in two matches and blame the keeper, but I have a tough time doing that.

Left Back: Greg Garza.

Center Back #1: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. Alright, so Pirez got caught way too far up the pitch against NYCFC. Although he has the capabilities of being a stone wall for nearby attackers, his lack of awareness when it comes to positioning is a cause for concern.

Center Back #2: Michael Parkhurst. He also wasn’t very good last week.

Right Back: Tyrone Mears.

Center Midfielder #1: Carlos Carmona. He scored a golazo, but alas.

Center Midfielder #2: Jeff Larentowicz.

Attacking Midfielder: Miguel Almiron. Last week was probably his worst match with Atlanta, but the Smile of a Thousand Suns will probably approve of returning to the CAM position, rather than out wide.

Left Winger: Yamil Asad. Welcome back. Stop getting suspended.

Right Winger: Jacob Peterson. You’ll see where I’m going with this.

Striker: Hector Villalba. Alright, where to begin? First off, this isn’t because I dislike Kenwyne Jones. I just dislike him in a Tata Martino system. When Villalba or Josef Martinez have been up top, they’re constantly moving and forcing defenders to take notice, which makes opposing backlines lose their shape, even if it is just slightly. “Slight” space is plenty for pacy attackers to exploit. Jones however, doesn’t pose that fear on defenders.

Again, that’s not Jones’ fault. He’s just not, in my opinion, built for this system. That’s even more obvious considering he signed on before Martino could have a say.

I included Peterson because he’s a winger that allows Villalba to move over, plain and simple.

This is a risky pick because I’m assuming Martino’s going to essentially depart from the “Kenwyne Jones” strategy as often as he can, and how the hell can I possibly know that? Well, I guess that’s the point of these posts. I don’t really know anything.

Am I getting cocky after just one correct pick in 6 matches? Why yes, yes I am.

To recap, here’s my projected starting XI against the Portland Timbers.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.