Predicting Atlanta United’s 11 vs. D.C. United

Who will start for Atlanta United in Sunday’s MLS game against D.C. United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium?

The Five Stripes are riding the crest of demolishing Houston 5-0 on Wednesday. D.C. United enters having easily dispatched Cincinnati 4-1 on Thursday.

Atlanta United (10-8-3) trails D.C. United (9-5-8) by two points in the East. Both are chasing Philadelphia, which leads with 36 points.

Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer said that D.C. United is a strong team with good players such as Wayne Rooney, Luciano Acosta, who has historically played well against Atlanta United, and Paul Arriola.

De Boer said it’s going to be interesting to see if Acosta’s return from a red card-related suspension will force a formation change for D.C. United. The team used three centerbacks against Cincinnati. Should Acosta return, one of those centerbacks must likely be removed.

Atlanta United seems likely to use the 3-5-2/5-3-2 that worked well against Houston. The numerous players asked about it after the game seemed to endorse the formation, which is one the team used for a stretch during the regular season last year and then again in winning the MLS Cup.

Here we go: 

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan 

Centerback Michael Parkhurst

Centerback Miles Robinson

Centerback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. Having Gonzalez Pirez and Parkhurst on the edges works well because both are better with the ball at their feet than Robinson. They can move up the field and become involved with the offense.

Right wingback Julian Gressel. He scored a goal and had two assists against Houston. He looks so much better in the space than in the middle.

Left wingback Justin Meram. Dion Pereira looked great against Houston, but Meram’s legs are fresher. I think he will get the nod.

Defensive midfielder Eric Remedi. He will come in for Jeff Larentowicz.

Defensive midfielder Darlington Nagbe. He’s got a hot hand. Or feet. You get the idea.

Attacking midfielder Pity Martinez. I think he will move into the role played well by Emerson Hyndman in the last game. But Martinez has to commit to tracking Acosta if he plays.

Striker Brandon Vazquez. The more he plays the better he looks.

Striker Josef Martinez. 

That means that Ezequiel Barco will be in the 18, but not in the 11, in my opinion.

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About the Author

Doug Roberson
Doug Roberson
Doug Roberson covers the Atlanta United and Major League Soccer.