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RSL vs. Atlanta United: Three Questions with Dirty South Soccer

Dirty South Soccer is here to guide us through their side of things.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at San Jose Earthquakes Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Clearly, we should all be scared of Josef Martinez, as Atlanta looked almost mortal against San Jose this week. What hope should RSL fans have, if any?

I hope RSL is good at bunkering and defending. A team like D.C. United seems to have figured this strategy out to a tee, as they’ve won three of the five matchups against Atlanta by doing exactly that. Essentially, the more unattractive (yet very effective) a team can make its playing style, the better it’ll do against an Atlanta team that loves to impress its home crowds. Load the box, make Atlanta bomb in cross after cross, and then spring on the counter when given the opportunity.

Also, this is Atlanta’s third match in a week, so there could very well be some tired legs out there. I wouldn’t put it past RSL to frustrate Atlanta into a well deserved point.

Rumors have been floating around Tata Martino leaving Atlanta. Is that something you’re spending much time thinking about?

Not a crazy amount. It sounds like Martino might be using reported interest from the Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico national teams as leverage for certain demands he has during ongoing contract negotiations with Atlanta. From what I can tell, Martino is happy in Atlanta and I think the club’s front office will find a way to keep him around. Apparently the club offered him a new deal and he has until Oct. 1 to pledge his allegiance to the club for at least another season.

As one of the more hyped clubs in MLS right now, what are you worried about that isn’t getting surfaced because of that?

I’m still trying to figure out what their best formation is. Martino likes to switch between a 4-3-3 and a 3-5-2 often, but the 4-3-3 is far more susceptible to lethal counters. Atlanta holds far less possession in the 3-5-2 and isn’t as “fun” to watch in it, but are far more stable defensively. There’s good and bad with both, but my fear is that Martino picks the wrong formation to use against a team eager to jump on us come playoff time.