With the news that Atlanta United may be pursing Darlington Nagbe, I thought it would be fun to try to figure out what the formation could be next year.
My projections include Nagbe and, in some others, Ezequiel Barco, another reported target.
Keep in mind, Atlanta United scored 70 goals last season, second-most in the league and the most by any expansion team in MLS history.
This is a variation on the 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 that Martino preferred last year and also includes Barco. The difference is Nagbe would play ahead of Carlos Carmona but behind Almiron. It’s a role that Julian Gressel played a few times last year. There were times last season when it was Carmona and Jeff Larentowicz paired together at defensive midfield where the connection between the defense and offense was missing, or Almiron and Martinez would be left alone high up the field to try to beat 4-5 defenders.
This formation doesn’t include Barco because I don’t know how he’d fit into it but reflects the slight formation shift that Martino began to use more as the season progressed, particularly deep in games. He first broke it out at Orlando, but began to use it more during the season. This formation doesn’t include Barco.
But look at that speed going forward.
In this, Carmona would play as a defensive midfielder and Greg Garza and Gressel would be wingbacks.
This formation doesn’t include a defensive midfielder, which is curiously anathema to some soccer supporters, but could work if Garza and Gressel can get up and down the wings like crazy people and the midfield trio of Almiron-Barco-Nagbe communicate well enough so that all three don’t get caught too high up the field.
This reflects the possibility that Almiron may indeed be sold in the January transfer window and that the team may re-sign Jeff Larentowicz.