1. Tactical changes
The Five Stripes were a little more shorthanded than usual on Sunday afternoon. Almiron missed his first full match since picking up a hamstring injury, while Villalba picked up an injury with Paraguay during the international break.
Both attackers missed Sunday’s match, opening the door for Carleton’s second career start and Ezequiel Barco’s first start since September 2, which was a loss against DC United. Escobar also found his way back into the Starting XI as mentioned earlier.
Left out of the starting line up was Jeff Larentowicz. Normally a central midfield stalwart, it seems manager Tata Martino opted to start Larentowicz on the bench based on the personnel available. He later subbed on for Carleton.
The biggest takeaway from Sunday was the lack of clear formation by Atlanta. The line up showed a 4-3-3, although anyone paying close attention in the last few weeks knows that the 4-3-3 usually just morphs into a 3-5-2. This time it was very unclear. At times it seemed like Darlington Nagbe occupied Almiron’s normal spot, while Barco and Carleton played out wide. Those two also seemingly flipped sides of the field on an occasion or two. During another point in the match, it looked like Julian Gressel was playing up top with Martinez, something rarely seen this season.
Although it worked this week, the lack of formation most certainly won’t work against Toronto in the next match. Hopefully, Atlanta can settle on a shape they like and play with the best personnel available.