Predicting Atlanta United’s starting lineup vs. Toronto FC

Injuries, suspensions, oh my.

After a great road win against the Montreal Impact, Atlanta United turns its attention to another Canadian foe in Toronto FC. With Franco Escobar suspended due to yellow card accumulation and Sal Zizzo out 3-4 months with a torn meniscus, will a tactical change compensate for the lack of a true right back? Also, do we see Ezequiel Barco return to the XI after missing the past two matches due to a violation of team rules? Let’s try and answer these questions.

Here is the definite, surefire lineup for August 4.*

*I’m probably wrong.

Formation: 3-5-2. With Escobar out and Zizzo injured for the long term, Atlanta will not have a true right back to choose from, making it rather complicated to utilize a 4-3-3. We’ve mentioned trying Julian Gressel out at that spot as he’s occasionally been implemented there during a handful of matches, but Tata Martino doesn’t seem very fond of having a player of his attacking attributes playing in a more defensive role. I see Martino opting out of a 4-man backline taking all this into consideration.

Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan.

Center Back #1: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez.

Center Back #2: Michael Parkhurst.

Center Back #3: Miles Robinson. The young man will be called upon once again.

Left Wingback: Chris McCann. Mikey Ambrose may have had a shout here, but he picked up a knock playing with the reserve team last week and didn’t train on Friday.

Right Wingback: Julian Gressel. The most adaptable player on the team will continue to showcase that.

Central Midfielder #1: Jeff Larentowicz.

Central Midfielder #2: Eric Remedi. Carlos Carmona 2.0 did well last week.

Attacking Midfielder: Miguel Almiron.

Striker #1: Josef Martinez. If he can score on Juventus, he can score on Toronto.

Striker #2: Tito Villalba. This may sound obvious, but Villalba’s most dangerous when he has the ball at his feet and is using his pace to stretch the opposing backline. The key is to keep him involved throughout the match so he can create space for Almiron and Martinez.

To recap, here’s my projected lineup against Toronto FC.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments.