Atlanta United’s result last week in the Concacaf Champions League opener at Herediano? Not great! The good news is that at least it has an away goal as it steps onto the Fifth Third Bank Stadium field in Kennesaw this evening. Facing a 3-1 deficit, 2 or more goals and a clean sheet means the Five Stripes get through. Easy enough, right?
The big question
Does the team have the will to turn this deficit? History would say yes, because it’s been a while since it’s lost back-to-back matches: Atlanta were 6-0-1 last season following a defeat. And while 2-0 is far from a tough ask, how Herediano comes out will mean some on-the-fly tactical decisions for Frank de Boer to make.
Predicted Atlanta United lineup vs. Herediano in Concacaf Champions League
- Obvious change on the left side with George Bello banged up. I thought that Brek Shea was going to start last week due to having vastly more experience than Bello, but de Boer elected to put the 17-year-old into the XI. By the way, I didn’t think that Bello was horrible in Costa Rica, but his inexperience showed.
- You need offense in this match, and that’s why I’m putting Nagbe in the XI. He gives you that hold-up play and attacking prowess that Jeff Larentowicz can’t quite provide. All in all, for that central midfield unit, this is a match asking for them to make their mark and shake off last week’s events.
- Again, with Atlanta needing offense, I have Tito Villalba in for Ezequiel Barco. Not to be harsh, but Barco’s slow decision making and inability to hold possession at critical times simply won’t work at this stage.
Thoughts? Questions? Let me know in the comments.