The late and legendary English football manager Sir Bobby Robson once said about new club coaches: “When you take over it is because something didn’t happen at the club.”
At Atlanta United, Rob Valentine was installed as interim head coach on Sunday following the sacking of Gabriel Heinze, and it’s safe to say that a lot of things have failed at the club recently to make that happen.
FC Cincinnati are hopeful that Valentine and Atlanta won’t have time to correct the setbacks before Wednesday’s game between the clubs at TQL Stadium.
The competition will pit teams No. 10 and 11 in the Eastern Conference standings against each other, and both are in desperate need of a win.
Atlanta (2-4-7, 13 points) will see the game as an opportunity to come out strongly from Heinze’s sacking and an eight-game winless streak worse than the franchise.
Atlanta’s top scorer Josef Martinez spoke to members of the media on Tuesday. He debriefed about the current state of the squad and declined to comment specifically on Heinze, who recently insisted Martinez not train with his teammates.
Despite his recent absence, including his exclusion from the apparel list in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to New England Revolution, Martinez will be available for selection.
FC Cincinnati head coach Jaap Stam said on Monday he expected Martinez to play.
“Scored a few goals, I think,” Stam said jokingly of Martinez. “Everyone knows its quality. Everyone knows how important it is. It’s the same when we talked a bit about Toronto and you talk about Altidore when he was out and coming back in the game… The player in particular himself also in what he can do, we all know his capabilities. We are aware of that and we have to be aware of it when he is on the ground. “
Despite the most explosive offensive performance in FC Cincinnati history on Saturday against CF Montreal, Cincinnati enters the Atlanta game after dropping five achievable points in the last two games.
After relinquishing a 2-0 lead in a 2-2 draw with Columbus Crew on July 9, FC Cincinnati were unable to fill their defensive holes and lost in Montreal, 5-4.
The game marked the sixth time in FCC history that the team had conceded five or more goals, and the second time in 2021.
Following the loss to Montreal, which saw several players unavailable due to pandemic restrictions at the Canadian border, questions have been asked about the FC Cincinnati goaltender and his ability to close games.
The Atlanta midweek game comes amid a quick succession of FCC games and a trip to Nashville SC pending this weekend.
FC Cincinnati could put some distance between themselves and a lot of the criticism they face with a win over a struggling Atlanta team.
“In a way it’s good that the games come quickly because after a certain result and then the next game you have the opportunity to clear things up,” said Stam. “In football you sometimes have to be very quick to let things go. Talking with the players about what we did and how we did. Of course, right after the game you are already discussing small things as well. Sometimes it’s just as well not to talk too much about certain things again and get into what happened. Sometimes you also have to move and I think for us that is. a very important thing now. ”
Start: 8 p.m. ET Wednesday, July 21 | TQL stage
Television / Radio / Stream: Star64 / ESPN1530-AM / fccincinnati.com
Series Info: Atlanta leads the all-time series between the teams with a 3-1-1 record against FC Cincinnati.
Chances: FC Cincinnati are favored, according to BETMGM.com.
Cincinnati.com prediction: Atlanta United 1, FC Cincinnati 1.
Record: 3-6-3, 12 points; 11th in the Eastern Conference
Objectives for: 16
Goals against: 25
Coach: Jaap Stam – second season as coach of FC Cincinnati (7-19-7)
Projected starting eleven:
Kenneth Vermeer (GK)
Edgar Castillo, rear left
Gustavo Vallecilla, central defender (left)
Geoff Cameron, center-back (right)
Joseph-Claude Gyau, right back
Caleb Stanko, midfielder
Luciano Acosta, midfielder
Haris Medunjanin, midfielder
Alvaro Barreal, winger
Isaac Atanga, winger
Brenner Souza da Silva, striker
Record: 2-4-7, 13 points; 10th in the Eastern Conference
Objectives for: 13
Goals against: 16
Coach: Rob Valentine – interim head coach appointed Sunday
Alec Kann, goalkeeper
George Campbell, back
Alan Franco, central defender
Anton Walkes, rear left
Brooks Lennon, rear
Jake Mulraney, midfielder
Amar Sejdič, midfielder
Marcelino Moreno, midfielder
Erik López, striker
Machop Chol, forward
Erick Torres, striker
Remarkable: Much has been said that FC Cincinnati lost Allan Cruz and Ronald Matarrita to the Concacaf Gold Cup, but Atlanta has been decimated by the ongoing international competitions. United will be deprived of the services of defender George Bello (United States), starting goaltender Brad Guzan (United States), starting center-back Miles Robinson (United States) and Ezequiel Barco, absent with the team on Wednesday. Argentinian Olympic football at the Tokyo Olympics.
FC Cincinnati will also be without Yuya Kubo for the Atlanta game. Kubo, one of the main tackle winners in MLS, is suspended for a game for accumulating yellow cards.
Player to watch: Josef Martinez – Gabriel Heinze and former MLS MVP Josef Martinez had a relationship that was described in the media as strained, but it didn’t take long for Martinez to pick up the conversation for Atlanta despite recent training separately from the club on orders from Heinze. Martinez was in attendance for the Atlanta practice session on Monday. FC Cincinnati are gearing up for him to play and Atlanta officials have said Martinez, who suffered an ACL tear in the 2020 season opener, will be available for selection. This is not good news for the FCC as Martinez is one of the biggest parasites in the club’s history with three goals against Cincinnati in the 2019 season alone. Due to the injury suffered by Martinez the Last year, he didn’t play any of Atlanta’s three games against FC Cincinnati.