Well, here it is. Minnesota has had a charmed spring season up until now with few injuries and fortunate penalties. Now, with the spring season in their grasp, Minnesota must win in Atlanta with 2 players on red cards and another 2 injured, bringing the total number on injured reserve to 4, including three in defense/goal.
Players out injured
Pablo Campos is out with an ACL tear, and is likely out for the whole season
Kevin Venegas got his jaw broken during practice. Won’t be back until Fall.
Matt Van Okel twisted his ankle. It’s unclear when he’ll be available again.
Tiago Calvano tweaked his thigh and will be out for the rest of the Spring Season.
Expect to see a new look in the back for Minnesota. Pitchkolan will start in the centerback position, with someone new in the back with him. At the open cup game, Brent Kallman got the start. There’s a good chance we’ll see him in that role again, which means fan’s will get to be really confused as to which B. Kallman just made the stop.
In the middle Vicentini will get the start, with either Franks or Jordan next to him. Jordan hasn’t started yet but has added energy everytime he comes on, so this might be his chance to start.
Up front, I’m not expecting much to change for Minnesota, although with the struggles to score in the last few games, we might see Watson in place of Bracalello.
Who is Atlanta, anyways?
Coached by a computer, or rather Eric Wynalda who did not give up his day job as an analyst for Fox Soccer to coach the team, Atlanta has not looked all that strong this season. He doesn’t attend most practices and has also not been at all the games this season.
It makes sense that Atlanta would be in a sort of personality crisis. According to match reports put up on nasl, they have played in a variety of formations, including a 4-2-4, a formation not seen since the 1970 World Cup. They’ve also lost some games by large margins, including two 4-0 drubbings.
Atlanta are coming off a 5-0 win against Chattanooga in the US Open Cup, but they played most of their starters for that game. It’ll be interesting to see who they start this game against Minnesota.
Alex Schieferdecker previews the game at MNunitedFC.com focusing on the adversity that Minnesota has going into this game and the lack of a clear formation and tactics for Atlanta.
Jon Marthaler has a good preview up over at SoccerCentric as well.
Richard Garcia is in Atlanta with the team. No word yet on if he’ll suit up for the team, but it’s wonderful to hear that he’s finally arrived!
With the shambles that is Atlanta’s defense, and Minnesota’s current makeshift defense, this could be a high scoring game. Dare I say it? 4-2 Minnesota.