Scouting report: Atlanta United at Columbus

Atlanta United (3-0-1) will play at Columbus (1-2-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Field. The game will be broadcast on the MLS channel on AppleTV and will kick off at 7:39 p.m. You can sync the radio broadcast from 92.9 FM through the app. You can follow the coverage of Doug Roberson, who has covered the franchise since 2014, on Twitter @DougRobersonAJC.

Here is a scouting report for the game:

Columbus manager: Wilfried Nancy

Columbus at home: 1-0-0

Atlanta United on road: 1-0-0

Columbus goals for/against: 5/7

Columbus expected goals for/against: 3.6/6.4

Atlanta United goals for/against: 11/3

Atlanta United expected goals for/against: 7.0/3.4

Columbus key players

Alexandru Matan: One goal, one assist

Jimmy Medranda: One goal

Atlanta United key players

Caleb Wiley: 3 goals, 2 assists

Luiz Araujo: 2 goals

Talking points

1. Who will replace Thiago Almada? Almada, who has four goals and four assists, is with Argentina. There isn’t a like-for-like replacement on Atlanta United’s roster for the attacking midfielder.

2. How will Almada’s absence affect Atlanta United’s offense? It’s unlikely that Pineda will try to change the strategy or tactics the team has honed the past few weeks.

3. How will Miles Robinson’s absence affect Atlanta United’s defense? It seems likely that Noah Cobb will start in place of Robinson. Cobb, a Homegrown signee, is in his first season with the team and being asked to fill in for the best centerbacks in MLS. Robinson also is very good at defending setpieces. Cobb has experience with Atlanta United 2 and from playing against Toluca in a friendly earlier this season.

Injury reports

Atlanta United

Out: Ozzie Alonso (recovery from torn ACL), Miles Robinson (national team), Thiago Almada (national team), Giorgos Giakoumakis (national team), Derrick Etienne (national team), Ronald Hernandez (national team), Luis Abram (national team)


Out: Milos Degenek (national team), Lucas Zelarayan (national team), Eloy Room (national team) and Cucho Hernandez (knee).

What was said

“I remember Andres Guardado, when we were in Germany in 2006, he was a very young player in the squad. And actually, there were a lot of complaints about him being in the final (roster) on that World Cup, and he had only one or two seasons at Atlas, and everybody was saying a lot of players deserve more and stuff like that. And then he comes against Argentina, and first game with a national team, and he does a fantastic job. And from there, we know the rest of the story. So I see that same attitude of always willing to have the ball, always taking responsibility for his game.” – Pineda on which player Thiago Almada reminds him of

“I think the energy has been good. We’re off to a good start. I think the team is playing well. We’re scoring goals. We’re not conceding as many goals. So I think we’re improving.” – Araujo

Officiating crew

Referee: Ramy Touchan

Assistants: Adam Garner and Nicholas Balcer

Fourth official: Joshua Encarnacion

VAR: Carol Anne Chenard

AVAR: Tyler Wyrostek

Atlanta United’s predicted 11

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan

Centerback Noah Cobb

Centerback JuanJo Purata

Right fullback Brooks Lennon

Left fullback Andrew Gutman

Defensive midfielder Franco Ibarra

Midfielder Amar Sejdic

Attacking midfielder Tyler Wolff

Right wing Luiz Araujo

Left wing Caleb Wiley

Striker Miguel Berry

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Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule

Feb. 25 Atlanta United 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1

March 4 Atlanta United 1, Toronto FC 1

March 11 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte FC 0

March 18 Atlanta United 5, Portland 1

March 25 at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

April 1 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

April 8 at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

April 15 at Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.

April 23 vs. Chicago Fire FC, 4:30 p.m., FS1

April 29 at Nashville SC, 1:30 p.m., Fox

May 6 at Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.

May 13 vs. Charlotte FC, 7:30 p.m.

May 17 vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m.

May 20 at Chicago Fire FC, 8:30 p.m.

May 27 at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.

May 31 vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m., FS1

June 3 at Los Angeles FC, 10:30 p.m.

June 10 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

June 21 vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

June 24 at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

July 2 vs. Philadelphia Union, 4 p.m., Fox

July 8 at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 12 at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.

July 15 vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m., FS1

Aug. 20 at Seattle Sounders, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 26 vs. Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 30 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 2 at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Sept. 16 vs. Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 20 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 7 vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 21 at FC Cincinnati, TBA