Atlanta United hopes consistency brings cohesion

Atlanta United manager Gonzalo Pineda was forced to select his ninth different starting lineup in his team’s ninth game in Saturday’s loss at Montreal. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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Atlanta United manager Gonzalo Pineda was forced to select his ninth different starting lineup in his team’s ninth game in Saturday’s loss at Montreal. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Atlanta United manager Gonzalo Pineda was forced to select his ninth different starting lineup in his team’s ninth game in Saturday’s loss at Montreal.

He said Thursday that it’s difficult to build cohesion when there isn’t consistency in the lineup.

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Injuries have been the issue for Pineda’s selections. Numerous players, including Designated Players Josef Martinez and Luiz Araujo, have been forced to miss numerous games because of injuries. Araujo has returned and made his second start of the season last week. Martinez remains out but has started doing double sessions in his rehab, according to Pineda.

Pineda’s team is mired in a four-game winless streak in which it has scored only two goals.

In the past, Pineda has said that if a player isn’t producing, he wouldn’t hesitate to bring in another. On Thursday, he didn’t want to reveal if there would be changes Saturday. He and Chicago manager Ezra Hendrickson were on Brian Schmetzer’s staff at Seattle years ago. Pineda joined Atlanta United during the middle of last season. Hendrickson took over Chicago during the offseason.

Every player who started last week’s game at Montreal is available for selection this week, according to the team’s injury report. That group included Bobby Shuttleworth in goal, Miles Robinson and Alan Franco as centerbacks, Brooks Lennon and Andrew Gutman as fullbacks, Matheus Rossetto and Franco Ibarra as central midfielders, Marcelino Moreno (who scored last week’s goal), Thiago Almada and Araujo across the midfield, with Ronaldo Cisneros at striker.

Despite the recent struggles and bad luck, Pineda said the team’s morale remains strong.

“The morale of the team just needs one victory,” he said. “My team is very mature for the age that we have players, very young, but they’re pretty mature about things, and they know at times you struggle at the beginning, but that brings everyone together. Adverse times build teams in a better way than success and especially the beginning of the season. Because at times this adversity brings better communication and better things.”

Rossetto, another player who missed games because of an injury but who since has returned, said it is frustrating that the goals aren’t coming, but the players are fine.

“This is the way we’re just going to keep going,” he said. “Once one or two goals start falling, more goals will come up, but this is the way, and we’re going to continue pushing to get those results.”

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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule

Feb. 27 Atlanta United 3, Sporting KC 1

March 5 Colorado 3, Atlanta United 0

March 13 Atlanta United 2, Charlotte 1

March 19 Atlanta United 3, Montreal 3

April 2 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 0

April 10 Charlotte 1, Atlanta United 0

April 16 Atlanta United 0, Cincinnati 0

April 24 Miami 2, Atlanta United 1

April 30 Montreal 2, Atlanta United 1

May 7 vs. Chicago, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 15 vs. New England, 1:30 p.m., ESPN

May 21 at Nashville, 7:30 p.m. FOX

May 28 vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 19 vs. Miami, 3 p.m., ESPN2

June 25 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 30 at New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 3 at NYCFC, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 9 vs. Austin, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 13 vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 17 vs. Orlando, 3 p.m., ABC

July 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 9:30 p.m., FS1

July 30 at Chicago, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC

Aug. 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1

Aug. 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV

Aug. 31 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m., FS1

Sept. 4 at Portland, 5:30 p.m., FOX

Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 14 at Orlando, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 17 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 1 at New England, 1 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 9 vs. NYCFC, TBD, BSSO/BSSE

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