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Predicting Atlanta United’s lineup against Columbus Crew in the U.S. Open Cup

Only FIVE internationals allowed, count em, FIVE!

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

So first off we should say, per our usual Atlanta United lineup predictions, this will be wrong.

Why will it be wrong? Well, aside from the obvious, we still don’t have a ton of data points from Frank de Boer in how he prefers to rotate his team for — let’s be honest — an inferior competition. We’ve seen how he rotates (or doesn’t rotate) in CONCACAF Champions League play, but that’s a bit different because CCL was clearly a priority for the club. We got one glimpse of U.S. Open Cup rotation last week when the team played a home game as the visiting team against the Charleston Battery, but will things change on the actual road against an MLS club?

Here’s my predicted lineup:

Let’s talk about it:

Kann - Seems like he’s the Cup keeper. Simples.

CBs - I think Leandro Gonzalez Pirez is likely to be a casualty of the 5-international player limit. Miles Robinson is still young and probably isn’t in need of much rest, and as far as international players go, you probably want those to be your most indispensable and/or attacking options in case things go awry. Florentin Pogba is still a fitness concern in his ability to go 90 minutes, but considering he started the last match and then was subbed out for tactical reasons before the 90 minutes were up, I think he’ll be okay.

LB: This could also be Mikey Ambrose instead of Michael Parkhurst. Brek Shea will almost certainly be rested after putting in a major shift last Thursday.

RB: Not a ton of other options here, and I’d think de Boer will want to see an improved performance from Escobar. Also, I think he may want to continue to pair Escobar and Pity down the right flank to allow them to continue to build a playing relationship.

CM: Eric Remedi could start here for either CM. But based on Frank de Boer’s stated preference on not chopping and changing between matches, I’m leaving the CMs consistent from what we saw last week.

AM: Again, shooting for consistency here, but I think inserting Meram of Pereira makes sense. Pereira has struggled in his last couple outings relative to some glimpses we’ve seen. Pereira is also an international, and if de Boer wants to include Ezequiel Barco on the bench, he will need to shed one of his internationals from the last squad.

ST: We could very well see Brandon Vazquez here, primarily down to fitness concerns. Romario Williams gutted out 120 minutes last Thursday and finished the game holding his groin, but he trained with the team fully on Monday. Vazquez came on as a sub and scored twice, but part of me thinks de Boer will want to give his backup striker as many opportunities as possible to prove his worth.

With three internationals in the starting lineup, I think Eric Remedi and Ezequiel Barco will round out the five maximum allowed.

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