Atlanta Uniter might be feeling the squeeze on Saturday as it currently sits in the midst of 4 matches in 11 days: after defeating the Chicago Fire at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last Saturday, it dropped a 3-0 scoreline to the Philadelphia Union in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals in a match where it felt it should have put more than a couple against a terrific Andre Blake.
While the Five Stripes search for a miracle this coming Tuesday in Chester, they return to MLS play on Saturday in Foxborough, Mass. to take on the New England Revolution. And that begs the question: what adjustments will Gabriel Heinze make to his side in the midst of a compressed schedule? Here’s what I think the starting XI will look like on Saturday:
- ST: Josef Martinez
- LW: Marcelino Moreno
- CAM: Ezequiel Barco
- RW: Jake Mulraney
- MF: Emerson Hyndman
- MF: Santiago Sosa
- LWB: George Bello
- CB: Alan Franco
- CB: Miles Robinson
- RWB: Brooks Lennon
- GK: Brad Guzan (c)
- Martinez starting up top is a no-brainer as his full 90-minute effort against the Union on Tuesday was his first whistle-to-whistle appearance in 2021 thus far. The question is if he does it again on Saturday as he looks to put the pieces back together after his ACL injury.
- Lennon should be back in the lineup after getting a shiner on Tuesday. His official injury status was listed as “questionable”, but Heinze said the right wingback is available. Not too much of a stretch to assume he’ll be out there.
- I think Heinze reverts to Mulraney at right wing on Saturday; Mulraney did play on Tuesday but came on for Moreno just shy of the hour mark against Philly. Perhaps Moreno leaving short of the full 90 and Mulraney coming off the bench was done with an eye toward both starting on Saturday, but we’ll find out together closer to match time.
As always, your thoughts are welcomed in the comments.