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Predicting Atlanta United’s lineup at D.C. United in MLS opener

MLS: MLS Cup-Team Training Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Last time I did a lineup prediction post, it didn’t turn out well in my favor.

For some reason, I’ve been allowed to continue in my lineup prediction role, and this one is a little tougher. Atlanta United visit D.C. United tonight in the MLS opener for both teams, just three days after Atlanta punched its ticket to the Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals. Which, by the way, starts for them on Wednesday.

The big question

How will Frank de Boer approach his team selection not just today, but moving forward over the next few weeks? If you’re Atlanta United, you’re pushing all your chips at the center of the Concacaf Champions League table. That means, yes, the club may take its lumps against Rooney and co., but you don’t want your first team lineup out there with an enormous match at Monterrey coming up on Wednesday. Don’t be surprised to see a lot of Sunday’s faces in the XI next Sunday against FC Cincinnati, too.

Predicted Atlanta United lineup vs. Herediano in Concacaf Champions League

Formation: 3-4-3

  • I really struggled with the decision of putting Florentin Pogba in the lineup or keeping him out. The problem is that Michael Parkhurst and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez need to be kept fresh for CCL, and with Franco Escobar out, you may not really have much of a choice. (Unless Tito Villalba starts at RWB and Jon Gallagher - whose versaility was on display with ATL UTD 2 last year - plays on the right side of that three-man backline? Just thinking out loud. Escobar’s injury doesn’t help matters at all.)
  • With Jeff Larentowicz seeing just a few minutes of action on Thursday against Herediano in CCL and Kevin Kratz healthy after picking up a knock in training, that should be your midfield pairing. That gives de Boer the chance to save Eric Remedi and Darlington Nagbe for Wednesday.

Thoughts? Questions? Let me know in the comments.