Atlanta United hopes to keep Guzan clean against Elfsborg

Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan runs drills at the team's training facility during training at the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground, Monday, January 13, 2020. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan runs drills at the team's training facility during training at the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground, Monday, January 13, 2020. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

If Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan doesn’t have to make one dive in Saturday’s friendly against IF Elfsborg, manager Frank de Boer will likely consider the scrimmage a success.

Atlanta United’s defense played well enough in Wednesday’s 4-0 win against Philadelphia that Guzan had to make only one save, and no extra scrubbing was needed to clean his kit afterward.

“I want the continuation we showed against Philadelphia, especially on the defensive side,” de Boer said on Friday. “Stay compact, don’t let them escape. Orlando (Trustfull) calls it, ‘Come into our house, lock the door, and they can’t escape anymore.’

“That’s we did really well against Philadelphia.”

Saturday's format will be two 45-minute halves. The game is scheduled to be begin at 5 p.m. and will be streamed at https://www.atlutd.com/live.

Atlanta United’s scheduled starters will be Guzan, centerbacks Miles Robinson, Franco Escboar and Fernando Meza, with Edgar Castillo as the left wingback and Brooks Lennon as the right wingback. Eric Remedi will be the defensive midfielder, with Emerson Hyndman playing just in front of him. The attackers will be Pity Martinez, who scored two goals against Philadelphia, Ezequiel Barco and Josef Martinez, who also scored against the Union. The change from Wednesday’s lineup is Castillo in place of Jake Mulraney. The formation will again be 3-5-2, or 3-4-2-1.

Elfsborg, from Sweden, played in a 4-1-4-1 on defense, and 4-3-3 when attacking in a scrimmage Thursday against Nashville. The teams tied 0-0.

Elfsborg was founded in 1904. Its colors are yellow and black.

De Boer said the players are doing a good job learning the system, saying Guzan’s quiet day against the Union was a result of the whole team working together on defense.

De Boer left the offense up to instinct against Philadelphia, which worked with all of the goals coming in the first half. He said that Saturday there may be more patterns emerging on offense, particularly runners behind the lines of defense.

De Boer said the starters will likely play around 70 minutes before subs are used. Escobar played 90 minutes against Philadelphia. Meza was supposed to go 90, but had to leave early with nausea.

“If we are only having the ball and don’t have to track back, then maybe 90 minutes are possible for some players,” de Boer said.