It may be a blessing that Major League Soccer has pushed back the start of the season until April 17. Not for the fans, but for Atlanta United's new manager, Gabriel Heinze. The next sixty days will see him multi-tasking with what must be a major emphasis on forming his player pool. He has already sent fan favorite Franco Escobar out on a one-year loan and rumors swirl regarding the departures of Eric Remedi and Fernando Meza. Sixty days is not a long time, and along with the player pool, a decision will be made on the system and shape Heinze will install to maximize his players' attributes.
The additions of Santiago Sosa and Lisandro Lopez will help, along with Marcelino Moreno coming into his first preseason training. One soft spot seems to be the backline, as the last couple of years have seen very solid defenders, including LGP, Michael Parkhurst, and now Franco Escobar leave the club. I have not spent time researching the systems Heinze's teams have played, but with what seems like an excellent group of midfielders, a 3-5-2 seems favorable. The 3-5-2 quickly morphs to a 4-2-3-1 when defending, but sixty days out, and thinking that Remedi and Meza depart, here is my first take if the season started tomorrow:
Guzan in goal.
The three defenders: Bello, Robinson, Lennon. This looks to be tenuous but the speed of these three will deal with a counter attack, and as I said above, a 3-5-2, when defending, quickly can take on a defensive shape.
The mids: Mulraney on the left, the trio of Barco, Moreno, and Sosa in the center, and Jurgen Damm on the right flank. I am not a big supporter of Barco, but maybe Heinze will have a positive impact on his attitude?
Up front is what all of us hope is fully recovered Josef Martinez and Erik Lopez. Lopez has the ability to play as a 'false 9', leaving Josef pressed high against the opponent's backline.
Call me crazy but sixty days out, with a fluid player pool, those are the eleven. Of course, to put my anxiety to rest regarding the backline, there is a garish defender in Madrid that seems like he wants a fresh start... It is just my take.