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Predicting Atlanta United’s starting XI vs. New York Red Bulls

Josef’s back. For real this time.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Atlanta United FC Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The good news about Atlanta United’s 5-1 loss to the Chicago Fire on Wednesday? It won’t need to wait long to try to get the bad taste of a heavy loss out of its mouths. The bad news? It will do so without Leandro Gonzalez Pirez in a match against a New York Red Bulls club it’s never beaten in the regular season. More good news, though: Josef Martinez will be back in the lineup after staying home for the Fire match - it’s tough to say whether him playing against Chicago or not would have made a difference considering how poorly the backline in front of Brad Guzan played.

Martinez’s return and Gonzalez Pirez’s absence means a few changes to the group we saw on Wednesday. Here’s what the XI may look like for Atlanta United against the New York Red Bulls:

The big change is obviously up top, but Mikey Ambrose’s 27-minute appearance in Chicago was probably a harbinger of what was to come today. The Texan went a full 90 with ATL UTD 2 against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on June 15 but hadn’t played in a first team match since March 30. (He was supposed to start against the Charleston Battery in the U.S. Open Cup before weather conditions forced the match to be moved to Kennesaw.) After several appearances in the 18, it’s likely he gets the call and pushes Michael Parkhurst to CB for the first time since March 17.

What are your thoughts on this lineup projection? Let me know in the comments.