1.) We’ve heard a lot about Atlanta United’s injury situation this year. What’s that looking like, and how’s it hurting the team?
It’s definitely been a factor this year but by no means is it the overriding reason behind Atlanta’s poor form. Brad Guzan, Miles Robinson, and Ozzie Alonso (the starting GK, star CB, and key winger midfield signing) have all missed almost the entire campaign with season-ending injuries, while both fullbacks have missed months, midfielders have constantly rotated on and off the injury list, and Josef Martínez was sidelined for substantial time and still doesn’t look 100% after his ACL tear in 2020 and subsequent surgeries. Robinson, however, has been perhaps the most significant loss as the entire defense lacks a security blanket without him and no one is there to win one-v-one duels and bail out any mistakes anymore.
2.) Despite its woes, Atlanta is just three points from the red playoff line. What are the team’s chances?
About 50–50. The bad news is that Atlanta has one of the hardest schedules in the league ahead of it (Philadelphia Union x2, NYCFC, Toronto, Portland, etc, etc). The good news is that the Five Stripes are playing the best they have all season (which doesn’t mean much, I know) and just need a good run of form to make it above the red line thanks to how clustered the Eastern Conference is. But ultimately, I wouldn’t put any money on it. There’re other teams that deserve a postseason game a lot more.
3.) Subaru Park has been really tough for opponents this year. How’s Atlanta been on the road?
Pretty darn awful. Atlanta has a 1W-5T-7L record away from home and generally looks fairly hopeless outside the comfortable confines of the Benz. There is some sign for optimism though - Atlanta has drawn its last three road games and even was the better team in a pair of them, getting unlucky not to win at Columbus.
4.) What are your lineup and score predictions?
(3-4-1-2): Rocco Rios Novo; Gutman, Franco, Purata; Wiley, Sejdic, Sosa, Lennon; Almada; Martinez, Araujo. I’ll go with a 2-2 draw, goals from Martinez and Almada.