The team ranks eighth in MLS in goals scored (9), but it can be argued that it is outperforming itself because its expected goals total is 7.5. That Atlanta United has scored that many despite using four different strikers, Josef Martinez, Dom Dwyer, Jackson Conway and Ronaldo Cisneros should be considered a compliment.
Cisneros likely will get the start Saturday, according to Pineda, because of his play off the bench in last week’s loss at Charlotte. The loanee showed pace and a determination that caused Charlotte’s centerbacks problems.
Because Pineda wants to see more off-the-ball runs, expect Cisneros to be a willing sprinter into space should his teammates try to play him through against a defense that has allowed 14 goals this season.
On defense, because Cincinnati typically plays with two strikers, expect Atlanta United to use Miles Robinson, George Campbell and Alan Franco in a three-centerback setup.
Stopping Vazquez will be job No. 1. Part of the plan will be to try to stifle Cincinnati’s three midfielders, led by Luciano Acosta.
“I think they’re very good on the ball, very dynamic, physically good,” Pineda said. “So we need to be able to try to win that duel in the middle of the field. Obviously the two strikers are always good. I think Vasquez is in a good momentum, is in a good rhythm, good form. I think he’s going to be key for their success, and we need to stop him to do that.”
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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 vs. Cincinnati, 6 p.m., Peachtree TV
April 24 at Miami, 1 p.m., ESPN
April 30 at Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
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, 4 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
August 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC
August 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE
August 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
August 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1
August 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV
August 31 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
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