Atlanta United opens their first home game in the MLS vs. FC Cincinnati Saturday night at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Last week in the MLS opener, Atlanta beat Nashville 1-2 in a tough away match with goals from Barco and Hyndman (what a goal). The lineup, as predicted, was the same from the win against Motagua with a 3-4-2-1.
#ATLUTD Starting XI vs @NashvilleSC. pic.twitter.com/8WsX5on3pD— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) March 1, 2020
The squad is already lacking depth, and with the new injuries of Escobar and Josef, it’ll be interesting to see how the team will lineup. Jahn could make his MLS debut for Atlanta, but I believe De Boer is going to test out Pity as a false nine to see if he can use him in that position for the CCL match vs. Club America.
We are going to see a couple of rotations, but that’s mainly due to injury. Atlanta United can’t afford to rotate the squad heavy early. It can result in points being dropped, and no one wants that. Would it be nice? Yeah, but with the way the squad depth looks right now, it wouldn’t be a great idea.
The formation could either be a 4-3-3 or the same 3-4-2-1. That’s the hardest part to predict since we have so many players that can play many different positions.
My predicted XI:
Defense: Nascimiento- Walkes- Meza- Lennon
DeBoer said in his press conference on Thursday that Luiz Fernando Nascimiento might get the start as a full-back or wing-back for the Home opener, and with Bello on the bench, it’s looking like a real possibility. Atlanta is going to dominate in possession, so it’s a good chance for him and Atlanta to play.
Walkes was another name mentioned as a full-back, but with his performances as a center-back, I highly doubt DeBoer will make that change.
Midfield- Remedi- Larentowicz- Hyndman
With the injury to Josef, and Pity possibly playing as a false 9, Atlanta United are going to need another man in the midfield. Larentowicz can step right in and provide cover for the two center-backs and possibly play as the third center-back if De Boer decides to play a backline of three.
Remedi is good form continues, and she shouldn’t be a name scratched out of the lineup.
Hyndman has been performing to the exception that was given to him before the season starts. He earned Man of the Match against Nashville, scoring a game-winning volley and completing 90(!)% of his passes.
Unbelievable strike ✅— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) March 1, 2020
Game-winner ✅@emersonhyndman is your man of the match pic.twitter.com/gSZfMwtUBX
Attack: Mulraney- Pity- Barco
Josef’s injury opens up a range of possibilities on what this attack will look like, Jahn could make a start since this game is at home, but with if DeBoer wants to test Pity out as a false nine, this is the perfect game to do it.
Mulraney will finally play in a comfortable position, so it’ll be interesting to see how he does.
Josef Martinez, Escobar, Castillo, and Robinson are all out with injuries. DeBoer said that Miles Robinson is nearing his return as on Thursday, he was running on the field.
Castro and Rossetto are now in Atlanta after their visa troubles but their status for this match is unknown.
Things to look for:
Always, always, always the formation change. With the injuries and squad depth, it’s always interesting to see how one sub can change a formation and tactics.
One to watch:
I have two players on the one to watch this week, Pity Martinez and Luiz Nascimento
Pity is going to play as a false nine, so it’ll be interesting how Atlanta is going to attack. Throughout training this week, Pity and DeBoer talked a lot about tactics, what will we see different?
Nascimento will hopefully make his MLS debut with Atlanta at home. With the crowd and the cheers, it’ll be interesting to see how he responds. If he performs well, we might see him more in the starting lineups this season.
Let me know what you guys think the lineup should be! You never know what formation or what players will feature