Predicting Atlanta United’s starting XI against FC Cincinnati

Atlanta United will look to recover from last weekend’s disappointing defeat as Five Stripes welcome FC Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday night.

In last week’s loss to Charlotte, coach Gonzalo Pineda surprisingly fielded three players at the back right from the start for the first time this season. It wasn’t as good as he probably hoped, and he made it clear to the media this week that he particularly thinks the team struggled in the first phase of team play – the phase where there is order and cohesion between the center back and midfield. Too involved.

For this reason and more, I think Pineda will return to either 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 in Saturday’s game.

Notes:

  • Pineda highlighted Ronaldo Cisneros’ play with the media this week, and when asked if he was ready to start, he smiled a sly smile and said “maybe” and “I hope pat” [Noonan, FCC head coach] I don’t watch this. “Maybe, that’s the honest truth, maybe Pineda is playing mind games. But I think Pineda liked what he saw from the fast Mexican striker and would want to see more of what he can do.”
  • Ronald Hernandez has not seen a game for Atlanta United since committing a costly mistake in the team’s 3-3 draw with Montreal two weeks ago. I think he’ll be back in the squad tomorrow as a tucked-back quarterback to help provide cover for the Atlanta center back as they deal with FC Cincinnati’s forwards. Last week, against two forwards, Pineda chose the three-back position, but I think using Hernandez as a full-back is a good compromise. I also think we’d probably see Brooks Lennon better and more involved if he had a defender behind him.
  • Franco Ibarra question mark. If Ibarra isn’t fit to start as his injury recovery continues to progress, we’ll likely see Sejdic get the nod.

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