The Quakes will play MLS rookies Atlanta United FC today in Atlanta. While this may be the first year of Atlanta’s existence as a team, they are already in a playoff hunt, and have a better overall record (8-7-3) than San Jose (7-6-5).
Atlanta’s 35 goals puts them in second overall in MLS, an attack which will challenge the Quakes defense more than a few times. Both Hector Villalba and Miguel Almiron have more goals (8) than Chris Wondlowski (7). If the Quakes run the 3-5-2, don’t expect a shut-out.
Line-Ups & Formations
Atlanta is not missing any significant players (Romario Williams is called up to Jamaica, but has yet to play a single minute this season). Expect an attack consisting of Josef Martinez (7 goals this season) as the #9 forward, with Villalba, Almiron, and Yamil Asad as the attacking mids. Defensively, Alec Kann will be commanding six defensive players: a four-man back-line of Anton Walkes, Michael Parkhurst, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, and Greg Garza, and two defensive mids in Jeff Larentowicz and Carlos Carmona.
The Quakes are missing huge pieces of their team, including defensive midfielders Darwin Ceren, Fatai Alashe, Anibal Godoy, and Mark Pelosi. With Atlanta’s potent offense, and the Quakes playing on the road, a more conservative line-up than the 3-5-2 would best suit the boys from the Bay. With the resurgence of Andres Imperiale, the Quakes could/should push Flo Jungwirth into the defensive mid role he seems to prefer and play a diamond 4-4-2, with Cordell Cato, Imperiale, Victor Bernarez, and Nick Lima on the back-line, Jungwirth playing the #6 to set up Tommy Thompson, Jahmir Hyka, and probably Jackson Yueill on the attack, with Wondo and Danny Hoesen up top. If Leitch decides to run the 3-5-2, Imperiale, Jungwirth, and Bernardez will probably play the backline with Cato and Lima playing the midfield alongside Hyka, Thompson, and Yueill.
Final Score Prediction
If the Quakes play the 3-5-2, Atlanta will score at least two goals and win 2-0, possibly 2-1. If the Quakes play a four-man back-line to limit Atlanta’s potent offense, and sacrifice a bit of offense in the process, the Quakes might manage a 1-1 draw. Either way, with the Quakes missing so many players, and playing on the road against a solid offensive team, the odds are low for the Quakes taking three points. I’m betting the Quakes run the 3-5-2, and lose 2-1.