After a promising 1-1 draw against Minnesota United on Wednesday, Atlanta United take on the Charleston Battery in their final preseason match of 2018. As reported by Doug Roberson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Tata Martino has given us a little insight into what we can expect from Saturday’s lineup.
This doesn’t make picking the correct lineup any easier though, as there are still a couple questions that come to mind. Does Martino start Franco Escobar or Tito Villalba after they each only registered 25 minutes in three matches? Will Michael Parkhurst return after missing the two Carolina Challenge Cup fixtures? What about Julian Gressel, Chris McCann, and Sal Zizzo, who have started every match up to this point, but are expected to fall into the “reserves” category when the expected starters are fit? Let’s poorly attempt to answer all of this.*
*I’m probably wrong.
Formation: 4-3-3. Atlanta played too well in this formation on Wednesday to not continue with it, even if it’s an experimental lineup. The 3-5-2 hasn’t looked great when implemented.
Goalkeeper: Alec Kann. Hopefully we see Mitch Hildebrandt at some point as well.
Left Back: Mikey Ambrose. It’ll either be him or Jose Hernandez, but Ambrose seems to be Martino’s preferred choice.
Center Back #1: Miles Robinson. It feels like he’s going to be the first choice center back coming off the bench this season simply by default, as there is literally no other natural CB other than Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Michael Parkhurst currently on the squad.
Center Back #2: Michael Parkhurst. Attempting to predict when a player returns to the starting lineup from an injury is a shot in the dark. Luckily, I have an unlimited amount of metaphorical bullets.
Right Back: Franco Escobar. His short stint against Minnesota was an impressive one, as one of Atlanta’s newest defenders showed he is not afraid to join in on attacks when given the opportunity. Let’s allow him to get his feet set one more time before the real show begins.
Central Midfielder #1: Chris Goslin. It might be Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu instead, but it should be Goslin(I’m sorry AWO you’re one of my favorites and you would absolutely win the Bachelorette: Atlanta United Edition).
Central Midfielder #2: Oliver Shannon. Atlanta’s most recent signing has turned the heads of many within the club, earning his first professional contract earlier in the week. Congratulations to him.
Attacking Midfielder: Kevin Kratz. Maybe Gressel? I’m just going with Kratz because he’s played less minutes this preseason.
Left Winger: Andrew Carleton. Get hyped.
Right Winger: Tito Villalba. The same reason we’ll see Escobar is the same reason we see Villalba. Brandon Vazquez is another possibility.
Striker: Romario Williams. A year after suiting up for the Battery and scoring against Atlanta in the final match of the 2017 CCC, Williams will hope to make a big impact for another team at MUSC Health Stadium. Jon Gallagher has been missing in action while working on his visa, so we shouldn’t expect to see the first round SuperDraft pick just yet.
To recap, here’s the projected lineup against the Charleston Battery.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.