Who will be in Atlanta United’s 11 vs. Red Bulls in Game 2?

Who will be in Atlanta United’s starting 11 when it takes on New York Red Bulls in the second leg of the Eastern Conference finals of the MLS playoffs on Thursday?

The Five Stripes defeated the Red Bulls 3-0 in Sunday’s first leg at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It will advance to the MLS Cup on Dec. 8 if it allows two or fewer goals. It will advance if it allows three or fewer goals, as long as it scores one. It will need extra time if it allows three goals, if it doesn’t score any.

So, manager Gerardo Martino has a few things to think about.

Should he bunker with a defensive-minded lineup, gambling that the Red Bulls can’t score three times? 

Atlanta United did post the best road record in MLS history with 32 points and 28 goals scored with 25 against. 

However, Red Bulls did go 14-2-1 at home, with 36 goals scored and 10 against. It scored at least three goals nine times, including six times at home, and at least four goals twice, both times at home.

Atlanta United captain Michael Parkhurst said it would be very difficult to try to defend the penalty box for 90 minutes.

Or, should he field an offensive-minded lineup that will push for the road goal that will effectively kill the series?

Doing so could cause Atlanta United to stretch itself thin, opening it to Red Bulls counterattacks and easy opportunities.

Or, should Martino try to strike a balance?

Here are a look at three lineups, one to reflect each scenario:

ULTRA DEFENSIVE

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan

Centerback Miles Robinson

Centerback Michael Parkhurst

Centerback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez

Right wingback Franco Escobar

Left wingback Chris McCann

Defensive midfielder Eric Remedi

Defensive midfielder Jeff Larentowicz

Midfielder Darlington Nagbe

Midfielder Miguel Almiron

Striker Josef Martinez

Though this is a 3-5-2, it would function more as a 5-3-2 with the wingbacks staying back and relying on Nagbe, Almiron and Martinez to put something together with counterattacks. Robinson and McCann would come in to help defend set pieces.

ROAD-KILLERS AND GOAL-SCORERS

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan

Centerback Jeff Larentowicz

Centerback Michael Parkhurst

Centerback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez

Right wingback Julian Gressel

Left wingback Greg Garza

Defensive midfielder Eric Remedi

Midfielder Darlington Nagbe

Midfielder Miguel Almiron

Striker Hector Villalba

Striker Josef Martinez

Villalba would move in as a second striker. The goal would be to have him play wide, away from Martinez, to try to take advantage of a one-on-one- matchup with either Tim Parker or Aaron Long.

Gressel and Garza would come in as wingbacks to put in crosses.

BALANCE

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan

Centerback Jeff Larentowicz

Centerback Michael Parkhurst

Centerback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez

Right wingback Franco Escobar

Left wingback Greg Garza

Defensive midfielder Eric Remedi

Midfielder Darlington Nagbe

Midfielder Julian Gressel

Midfielder Miguel Almiron

Striker Josef Martinez

This is the same lineup Martino used in the first game. It seemed to work fine

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