Frank de Boer has a decision to make tonight as Atlanta United are in Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps. A tired group playing its fourth match in 10 days, coupled with a cross-continental flight, means that several of the faces we saw against Orlando City on Sunday won’t be in the 18 this evening. To that point, Michael Parkhurst and Darlington Nagbe are in Atlanta and will rejoin the club ahead of the next game in New Jersey against the Red Bulls this coming Sunday. Andrew Carleton also posted on social media that he made the trip with the first team.
Based on that information, here’s my best stab at how the lineup will look this evening:
- Stephen Glass may have given us a few hints when putting together a few ATL UTD 2 lineups earlier in the season without knowing it. Dion Pereira, in the club’s seeason opener against Hartford Athletic, played behind an attack of Jackson Conway at the left, Jon Gallagher on the right and Brandon Vazquez at striker. Romario Williams has been used primarily as a lone striker during his professional career, but has the experience and skill to play on either wing.
- I’m in favor of Jon Gallagher getting the start at RWB. He certainly has the pace to do so and is more than capable of scoring and creating (6 goals, 5 assists with ATL UTD 2 in 2018). If things turn out the way Atlanta United likes, you won’t have to burn Julian Gressel or Franco Escobar and will have them fresh for a huge match against the Red Bulls on Sunday.
- This match screams for Florentin Pogba to get a start. The ideal scenario is not having to use Leandro Gonzalez at all tonight, but LGP will be ready if de Boer needs defensive reinforcements.
- I’m interested to see what shape this will take if Frank de Boer does decide on a 4-3-3. I don’t know if Dion Pereira plays as a 10; rather, I feel that Josef Martinez takes on the false 9 role that we saw him in during the Orlando City match. Perhaps Carleton and Larentowicz pair off in the midfield to give Atlanta a 4-2-3-1 look? In a sense, I’m leaning toward the latter given the pace that Gallagher provides on the right, moreso than Shea on the left. Plus, the chemistry Williams and Gallagher have from USL play is another plus, meaning that those two should be able to combine quite often.