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Predicting Atlanta United’s starting lineup at NYCFC

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this is a pretty big match.

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

After a dominant U.S. Open Cup showing against the Charleston Battery, Atlanta United turns its attention to a pivotal Eastern Conference clash against NYCFC. On a short break, do we see usual starters like Ezequiel Barco, Franco Escobar, Julian Gressel, and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez make an appearance after playing most of the midweek match? What about the status of Chris McCann and Tito Villalba? Let’s do our best to answer these questions and keep my record-breaking streak of three accurate lineup predictions going.

Here is the definite, surefire lineup for June 9.*

*I’m probably wrong.

Formation: 3-5-2. A 4-3-3 is better in terms of spacing, especially at a very small Yankee Stadium field, but Tata Martino loves him some 3-5-2 it seems. This is purely a gut instinct on my part.

Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan.

Center Back #1: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. During the post-match press conference last Wednesday, Martino made it seem like he has no intention of resting regular starters that played against the Battery, at least solely in terms of their stamina levels. Perhaps it’s a different story regarding tactics, but Pirez should be safe regardless.

Center Back #2: Michael Parkhurst. I’m sure his suite at Fifth/Third Bank Stadium was nice.

Center Back #3: Franco Escobar.

Left Wingback: Mikey Ambrose. With Greg Garza on the shelf and Chris McCann still out, this duty is left to the youngest looking player on the team. He’s been solid when called upon though.

Right Wingback: Julian Gressel.

Central Midfielder #1: Jeff Larentowicz. Him and Parky were absolutely suite buddies, no doubt about it.

Central Midfielder #2: Darlington Nagbe. It’s hilarious to me that Martino’s reasoning behind starting Gressel over Nagbe on Wednesday was because Gressel has played one less match this season. That’s some FIFA stamina bar stuff.

Attacking Midfielder: Miguel Almiron. He was warming up with Yosef Samuel on Wednesday and I rubbed my eyes so hard that I think I tore a retina.

Striker #1: Josef Martinez.

Striker #2: Ezequiel Barco. I’m most concerned about his stamina considering how many runs he made on Wednesday, but I still think he’ll be fine.

To recap, here’s the projected lineup against NYCFC.

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