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Predicting Atlanta United’s starting XI at New York City FC

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New York City FC...in New Jersey

SOCCER: JUN 20 MLS - Philadelphia Union at Atlanta United FC Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Gabriel Heinze won’t be managing Atlanta United during its road match against New York City FC this evening due to yellow card accumulation (which is apparently a thing for coaches, too). As is the case from time to time, there’s a scheduling conflict at NYCFC’s home ground—apparently its primary tenant needs it or something. So NYCFC will be making the trip across the Hudson to set up shop at Red Bull Arena. Which is better than the alternative of, say, traveling all the way to...just throwing out a random city...East Hartford, Connecticut. Not sure why East Hartford came to me, but it’d be pretty unwise if NYCFC were to ever play a home match up there, wouldn’t it?

OK, never mind. That bit’s been played to death. Rest assured Atlanta aren’t in a jolly mood after blowing a 2-0 lead for the 2nd match in a row, dropping it into a 3-way tie for the final playoff spot but outside of qualifying due to having less wins than the Cityzens and CF Montreal (3 each). With Heinze in the stands serving his suspension, Mariano Toedtli will man the touchline in his spot. Here’s how I think the XI will look:

Hopefully it’s a better outcome than Sunday, but despite the draw that felt like a loss, I’m predicting no changes. Here are a few thoughts, though:

  • Anton Walkes is pretty much the starting CB alongside Miles Robinson until further notice. I know that it’s at the expense of Alan Franco, but the Englishman is the top choice with and without his header against Philly on Sunday.
  • Will Heinze/Toedtli make a switch up top? That continues to be a concern, but I’m not ready to go with Jackson Conway there instead of Cubo Torres just yet. However, with it being a midweek game, who knows?
  • Kudos to Brooks Lennon, who looked very good on Sunday and hopefully can carry that over to Wednesday. He’s really come into his own since arriving in Atlanta, and along with George Bello, forms a nice pairing on the outside. Rob mentioned it in his preview but Lennon’s 4th in the league in chances created.

So what are your thoughts? Let me know down in the comments.