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Predicting Atlanta United’s starting lineup at Chicago Fire

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unleash the beast.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Atlanta United FC Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

After a very satisfying win against the Montreal Impact, Atlanta United turn their attention to the Chicago Schweinsteigers. For the first time all season, every crucial member of the Five Stripes could start in a match. What exactly does that lineup look like? Well, let’s take a crack at guessing it.

Here is the definite, surefire lineup for May 5.* Also, Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone.

*I’m probably wrong.

Formation: 4-3-3. LET’S FREAKIN’ DO IT! This is the worst nightmare of teams like the Fire that could sit back and try to counter. We saw after Miguel Almiron’s penalty conversion against Montreal that Atlanta can step on the throat of teams once Tata Martino allows the Paraguayan to make charging runs with Ezequiel Barco, Josef Martinez, and Tito Villalba all ahead of him and running towards goal. A 4-3-3 also allows Atlanta to press much more efficiently, which is something that Martino himself said has been the biggest negative aspect he’s seen with the 3-5-2. An Atlanta 4-3-3 is absolutely terrifying for any opposing backline. Let’s scare some folk.

Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan.

Left Back: Greg Garza.

Center Back #1: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez.

Center Back #2: Michael Parkhurst.

Right Back: Julian Gressel. Aah, this is where things get interesting. A case could be made for Franco Escobar, but even if the Argentinian was completely healthy, I don’t think Martino can deny Gressel a starting spot at this point. He’s earned it and gives the Atlanta attack an additional element with his pinpoint crossing ability. Gressel also played as a right back when Atlanta switched to the 4-3-3 last week, so I think that was a prelude of things to come from Martino. Escobar will be an excellent depth player to have.

Central Midfielder #1: Jeff Larentowicz.

Central Midfielder #2: Darlington Nagbe.

Attacking Midfielder: Miguel Almiron. Yeah, I kind of gave this one away already.

Left Winger: Ezequiel Barco. He joins Almiron and Nagbe on the “Players who don’t give the ball away” list. It’s pretty nuts to have three players on the same team who can claim to have that ability.

Right Winger: Tito Villalba. If Martino felt Villalba could play an entire half last week, I don’t see why he can’t go 70 minutes this week and then exit.

Striker: Josef Martinez.

To recap, here’s my projected lineup against the Chicago Fire.

Oh. My. Goodness. It’s beautiful. I’m so excited. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.