The struggles continue for Stephen Glass as Atlanta United lost 2-0 away against Chicago Fire last Sunday. It’s been an inconsistent and frustrating couple of weeks as one might have thought Atlanta was possibly turning a corner toward improving instead of dropping points.
Atlanta United’s starting XI vs. Chicago Fire:
#ATLUTD’s Starting XI vs Chicago Fire pic.twitter.com/ciS4dDOrWP— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) September 27, 2020
The lineup came as a surprise after how well the starting lineup against FC Dallas played. Regardless, the same problems occurred, and Glass’s managerial decisions tonight will prove pivotal in what is maybe the most important game of the season if Atlanta is to make the playoffs.
Can Atlanta gain much-needed momentum against a struggling DC United?
Predicted starting XI vs. DC United:
I chose two different possibilities on how Glass could lineup against DC United.
(4-3-3): This is the defense that Glass has been using the last couple of weeks, a back four. Miles Robinson did not play against Chicago Fire; one can assume it was for rest. He should slide back in the starting XI next to Meza tonight.
(3-4-3): If Barco is back fit and ready to play, it begs the question where Brooks Lennon will play. Jon Gallagher has been a bright spot in the Atlanta United roster these last couple of weeks, and it would be both surprising and disappointing if he is dropped from the starting XI.
As a wing-back, it’s the only way I see Brooks Lennon fitting into this lineup. He’s a much better wing-back than he is a forward. Escobar is an undisputed starter no matter how off of form he’s been in 2020, so he will move as a third center-back to give Atlanta another outlet from the back.
(4-3-3): The midfield has been one of Atlanta’s biggest weak points this season. Against FC Dallas, Matheus Rossetto looked more like the player Atlanta United signed, creating space and opportunities going forward for Atlanta. He wasn’t available vs. Chicago Fire due to a small injury but is now available to play (we think!).
Jeff Larentowicz has been involved more in the starting XI in recent weeks, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he started tonight. His leadership is something Atlanta needs on the field.
(3-4-3): Although I value Larentowicz’s leadership, the style that Glass is trying to implement doesn’t work with a player with Larentowicz’s mobility (or lackthereof) in that defensive midfielder role. Eric Remedi is better suited tactically. If you want to keep the high press against the opposition, he’s the perfect candidate for that. Only two central midfielders would mean that they would both have to defend more, which is not one of Rossetto’s strong points. Still, I would much rather have Rossetto playing as that second central midfielder rather than Hyndman, who has been inconsistent.
Adam Jahn was by far Atlanta’s best forward last Sunday night against Chicago Fire, so it would make sense if he got another opportunity in the starting XI. According to the Atlanta United injury report, Ezequiel Barco should be fit and ready to play tonight in place for Mulraney. If he is still not available to play for whatever reason, Atlanta United has alternatives like Jurgen Damm, Jake Mulraney, and Manuel Castro.