Atlanta United has strong group available to face Orlando

Atlanta United will be close to full strength for Wednesday’s pivotal MLS game at Orlando, interim manager Stephen Glass said on Monday.

The team is still waiting on a decision about defender Franco Escobar, but the remaining players are available. In other words, Glass may not choose to hold any players back simply because the team played this past Saturday, losing to D.C. United, and will play again Sunday against Cincinnati.

Atlanta United is in 12th place with 19 points and three games, or nine possible points, remaining. The top 10 teams will advance to the playoffs. The Five Stripes trail 10th-place Miami by two points and are one point ahead of 13th-place D.C. United.

Orlando is in fourth in the East with 32 points. It has clinched a playoff berth but is competing for seeding. It trails third-place Columbus by three points and leads fifth-place NYCFC by two points. The teams that finish 1-4 get to host a playoff match. Atlanta United is 0-1-2 against the Lions this season.

Atlanta United’s depth was an issue because the last time Designated Player Marcelino Moreno started a game on the weekend, against Red Bulls on October 10, he didn’t travel for the next mid-week match against Miami on Oct. 14. Moreno then came off the bench to play 45 minutes at Toronto on October 18 and went 90 minutes against D.C. United.

Ezequiel Barco, the team’s other healthy Designated Player, has also had an issue with injuries this season. He missed seven consecutive games because of inflammation in his quadriceps before coming on as a second-half sub against Toronto.

Glass said there’s a possibility that he could rotate some players out of the group that started against D.C. United but he doesn’t think it’s necessary. It was a lineup that featured some of the team’s best attacking players. In addition to Barco and Moreno, also starting were Erick Torres, Jurgen Damm and Matheus Rossetto. Jon Gallagher came off the bench to score the goal.

“I think without telling people what the group is going to be a we have a squad of players that are well capable,” Glass said.


Atlanta United coming games

Wednesday at Orlando (8-3-8), 7:30 p.m., FS1

Sunday vs. Cincinnati (4-12-4), 7 p.m., FSSE

Nov. 8 at Columbus (10-4-5), 3:30 p.m., FSSE

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