Updated: Jul 28
The wait is finally over as Atlanta United plays host to San Jose in the first game of the 2023 season. It will be the first Atlanta United game of the season and will be streamed on Apple TV as part of their new blockbuster streaming package, covering every single MLS game. The game will also be on the radio on 92.9 The Game and La Mejor. Looking ahead to the game itself the opener was a good draw considering the importance of getting off on the right foot and San Jose's poor form historically.
The roster will be released about an hour before the 7:30 kickoff but there is precedent from the preseason games played in the past weeks for how both teams will lineup, as well as team sheets from last year. In Atlanta United's last preseason game against St. Louis there were some important roster implications, primarily the availability of Luis Abram. This is what the predicted team sheet is based on.
Players to note are the lack of Santiago Sosa and Giorgos Giakoumakis because of the suspension from the end of last season and trouble getting a work visa, respectively. I am also expecting Miles Robinson to start and then come off at half time for Luis Abram. What is unclear still is if Atlanta United's very recent signing, Miguel Berry, will be available for this game. I don't think he will have any Visa troubles because he has been playing in DC before he joined the team, so he might be ready for this game but I wouldn't count on it.
As far as San Jose's lineup for the match I am basing their expected eleven primarily on their last preseason game, a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls. This game saw two first half goals for the Red Bulls.
Their key players are wingers Cade Cowell and Kikanovic, as well as MLS journeymen Jamiro Monteiro and Jonathan Mensah. Nathan also had a very good season last year.
Both teams did not have extraordinary seasons last year but Atlanta United should still have a leg up on last year's worst team in the Western Conference. San Jose will most likely play a slow defensive game trying to create counter attack chances for their fast wingers. Atlanta United should be able to control the game, though, especially with the reigning rookie of the year Thiago Almada and Luiz Araujo finally seeming to find his footing in the attack. This leads us to my 2-1 Atlanta United win score prediction. With Almada and Araujo second half goals before a throwaway Cade Cowell counter attack goal to close out the game.