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Predicting Atlanta United’s starting lineup against NYCFC

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Red, black and gold vs. blue and white.

MLS: LA Galaxy at Atlanta United FC Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United’s match today against NYCFC is an interesting proposition. On one hand, you presumably want your key players fresh against América in Campeones Cup on Wednesday. On the other hand, this match against NYCFC is a key one, and one Atlanta can’t afford to come out of with less than three points. But I think they’ll be able to strike the balance effectively.

Here’s how I think they’ll line up (despite th graphic, it will be a 3-5-2 again formationally):

  • Leandro Gonzalez Pirez returns to league play. Let’s hope it’s the good LGP that shows up.
  • I think Josef Martinez starts. There’s no indication that the injury that held him out against Orlando on Tuesday is anything other than a relatively minor knock. He’ll be back.
  • Do we see Tito Villalba? I don’t know if he starts, but I wouldn’t hate seeing him come on around the 60th or 65th minute.

I think Atlanta has the bandwidth to field a quality XI on Wednesday with this lineup. But for now, it’s today’s match that is of prime importance and one that could set the tone for the home stretch. As always, let me know what you think of my predicted lineup in the comments.