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Predicting Atlanta United’s starting lineup vs. Orlando City

a necessary midfield change.

MLS: Portland Timbers at Atlanta United FC John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

After a tame 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers, Atlanta United takes on a struggling Orlando City in front of an expected crowd of over 70,000 people. Darlington Nagbe’s long-term injury means a switch in the midfield is necessary, but how does Tata Martino approach it? Does he continue to stick with the 4-3-3 formation as he has the past couple of matches? Let’s try and answer these questions as best as we can.

Here is the definite, surefire lineup for June 30.*

*I’m probably wrong.

Formation: 4-3-3. Uhhhhh so I guess Martino likes the 4-3-3 again? In fairness, I think most fans prefer it for the generally more exciting and attacking lineup that it naturally is. Cheers to more of it.

Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan.

Left Back: Mikey Ambrose.

Center Back #1: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez.

Center Back #2: Michael Parkhurst.

Right Back: Franco Escobar. Orlando has used twelve different backline combinations in sixteen matches this season. The difference between a good defense and a bad one is consistency a lot of the time. Nothing proves that more than what we’ve seen from each of these teams in 2018.

Central Midfielder #1: Jeff Larentowicz.

Central Midfielder #2: Julian Gressel. With Nagbe out, someone has to step in. Gressel did just that when Nagbe went down against Portland. Although Martino teased the potential of Kevin Kratz starting after Friday’s training, he seemed much more interested in the idea of Gressel and a certain Argentinian winger coming through.

Attacking Midfielder: Miguel Almiron.

Left Winger: Ezequiel Barco.

Right Winger: Tito Villalba. I’m a simple man. When Villalba starts, I’m happy. Even when he isn’t playing particularly well, he’s still able to stretch an opposing backline with his pace and create more space for teammates like Almiron, Barco, and Josef Martinez who absolutely thrive in it.

Striker: Josef Martinez. Speaking of....oh and also he hates his mask and doesn’t want to wear it anymore. Y’all pray for his nose. The doctor said he’s supposed to have it on for at least another five weeks. Yikes.

To recap, here’s the projected lineup against Orlando City.

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