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Predicting Atlanta United’s starting lineup vs. Portland Timbers

3-5-2 or 4-3-3?

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Atlanta United FC vs Chicago Fire Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

After Atlanta United bowed out of the U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, they turn their full attention to league play as they take on a surging Portland Timbers side on Sunday.

In a bit of a surprise, Tata Martino came out in a 4-3-3 during Atlanta’s last MLS match against the Columbus Crew. Could we see it again this weekend or does he revert back to the 3-5-2? Let’s try and talk this all out.

Here is the definite, surefire lineup for June 24.*

*I’m probably wrong.

Formation: 3-5-2. This could easily be wrong. In fact, it was wrong the last time I made a prediction. However, you fine readers let it slide on Twitter when I still managed to pick all the players correctly and subsequently begged for mercy. I used a randomizer app to pick which formation I think Atlanta will use because I genuinely have no idea. #Analysis.

Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan.

Center Back #1: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez.

Center Back #2: Michael Parkhurst.

Center Back #3: Franco Escobar.

Left Wingback: Mikey Ambrose. Chris McCann is still out with a hamstring injury.

Right Wingback: Julian Gressel. Here lies the biggest issue. Tito Villalba has been very active the couple appearances he’s made since returning from injury and his pace pushed Atlanta over the line against Columbus after he scored a counterattacking goal to seal the victory. Does Martino go with a fully fit Villalba who has found a bit of form as of late or does he stick with a reliable Julian Gressel?

The decision likely has everything to do with what formation they come out in.

Central Midfielder #1: Jeff Larentowicz.

Central Midfielder #2: Darlington Nagbe. Go out there and drop a hat trick on your former team.

Attacking Midfielder: Miguel Almiron. You’re amazing, sweety.

Striker #1: Josef Martinez. Just because he’ll be wearing a mask and thus finally evolving into his final form does not mean he’s going to obliterate Portland’s defen-

Oh yeah nevermind he’s scoring a hat trick.

Striker #2: Ezequiel Barco.

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

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