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Opening the Atlanta United mailbag

Let’s open this week’s Atlanta United mailbag:

Jay sent the following question:

Q: Curious about your opinion on the "open" CDM slot behind Darlington Nagbe. With Jeff Larentowicz and Chris McCann we have two players that are able to play there. How concerned are you about Carlos Carmona not being replaced. At this point, I am assuming the week 1 starter is already on the roster. While Carmona is a loss, are we really in a bad situation here. While both options are up there in age, looking only at 2018, how concerned are you really?

A: This is a great question because it is focused on a position that others place much greater value on than do I. 

I recognize the importance of the central defensive midfielder, but I don’t think it’s the most important position in the 11, which is an opinion I’ve heard from others several times. It’s a tough job, one that doesn’t result in a lot of eye-popping stats.

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Anyway, the team is trying to sign a replacement who can challenge for a starter’s spot at CDM. I say that because that has been their model since the start: they either sign for potential or for immediate impact.

If the team can’t find one, I think it will be OK with the combination of Jeff Larentowicz, Chris McCann and possibly Oliver Shannon and Chris Goslin. The team also has the depth to experiment, which is something manager Gerardo Martino wasn’t shy about doing last season, with say a Franco Escobar at CDM. The position requires an ability to tackle, patience with the ball, an ability to make an accurate pass and communication.

I’ve been impressed by Shannon, picked second in the SuperDraft, and Goslin, a Homegrown signing. While neither has MLS experience, playing beside Larentowicz and ahead of Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Michael Parkhurst would provide a warp-speed education.

Shannon spent 13 years in Everton’s academy, so it’s not like he’s not partially finished.

Goslin looks so much better in training camp this year than last year. That doesn’t mean he looked bad last year. I spent more time looking at those who I presumed would start than those who I presumed wouldn’t. 

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Carl sent the following two questions:

Q: What are the substitution rules for the Carolina Cup?

A: The Cup allows unlimited substitutions with no re-entry and no extra time. 

A player who receives a red card would result in a sending off, but that player would be eligible for the next match unless it's something “outrageous and the MLS would prefer he not play in the next game.”

Q: Were the goalkeepers kits in Nashville the new kit? 

A: Yes, those were the new goalkeeper kits. They were pretty sharp, I thought.

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