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Predicting Atlanta United’s starting lineup at Toronto FC

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Oh Canada.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Atlanta United at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

A couple of things to note as Atlanta United takes on Toronto FC tonight at BMO Field:

  • Franco Escobar is out due to yellow card accumulation
  • Tito Villalba is still banged up
  • Ezequiel Barco is out for two weeks, at least
  • Josef Martinez is with Venezuela at Copa America
  • Julian Gressel trained yesterday before the team left for Canada, and will at the very least be in the 18 even after being stuck in passport control lines when arriving at Pearson Airport in Toronto yesterday

Meanwhile, here’s who is out for TFC:

Needless to say that TFC - who are winless in its last eight and have scored just five times during that span - are in a bad way. Should be an easy win north of the border, right?

Right?

Here are my lineup predictions for this evening:

-Brandon Vazquez has been in unreal form during the U.S. Open Cup. I’m interested to see how that carries over to MLS play, and the good news is that this match (with a good chunk of TFC’s first team out) can see him put his fingerprints on it.

-I mentioned Gressel is available for selection tonight, and even though I have Michael Parkhurst starting at RB, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Gressel there instead for about an hour before bringing Parkhurst in. Or do we see Parkhurst at LB, Gressel at RB and Brek Shea brought on as a substitute at LB? Gressel at RB could see him push up into the attack and allow Pity Martinez to cut inside to mitigate the absence of Barco.

Your thoughts? Let me know in the comments.