Atlanta United out 2 starters on defense against Orlando

FEBRUARY 11, 2017 CHATTANOOGA TN Atlanta United defender Greg Garza (4) make it thru a Chattanooga forward.

Credit: Miguel Martinez

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FEBRUARY 11, 2017 CHATTANOOGA TN Atlanta United defender Greg Garza (4) make it thru a Chattanooga forward.

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Atlanta United will be without two of its four regular starters on defense when it hosts Orlando City on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Manager Gerardo Martino said on Friday that left fullback Greg Garza, who has scored two goals and has give assists, will miss at least one game because of a hamstring injury sustained in Wednesday’s 7-0 win against New England. The 26-year-old has started 24 games this season.

Though Garza is a fullback, he essentially operates as another midfielder and sometimes forward in Martino’s system. In the two league games he didn’t start, Atlanta United tied tied Sporting KC 1-1 and tied Portland 1-1. Both of those were road games. The team averages 2.08 goals per game.

Martino said Mikey Ambrose is among the contenders to replace Garza. Ambrose has one start and four appearances this season. He was acquired from Orlando City in the MLS expansion draft in Dec. 2016.

Additionally, centerback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez is suspended for Saturday’s game because of yellow card accumulation. Jeff Larentowicz, Bobby Boswell and Anton Walkes are among those who could replace Pirez, who has 26 starts. When he’s at his best, Pirez is among the better centerbacks in MLS.

Atlanta United (12-8-6) has posted consecutive shut outs, increasing its season total to seven this season.

Orlando City (9-12-7) features two of the league’s best strikers in Cyle Larin and Dom Dwyer, but has scored just 29 goals this season. That total is third-lowest in MLS.