4 position battles to watch during Atlanta United’s preseason

Alec Kann vs. Alex Tambakis

Right now, this is for the starting spot at goalkeeper, but it could end up being the back-up role if Brad Guzan arrives before Opening Day. Kann has the advantage going into preseason due to his MLS experience. He was 2-2-2 as a starter in six games with Sporting Kansas City last year. Tambakis is coming into camp after going 11-5-5 in Charleston last year with six shutouts.

Mark Bloom vs. Zach Loyd

With Atlanta chasing Estudiantes’ Leandro Gonzalez Pirez or another “top level” center back, that could push Zach Loyd into a competition with Mark Bloom for playing time at right back. Bloom would appear to be the better fit for Tata Martino’s system, but don’t count the experienced Loyd out.

Chris McCann vs. Jeff Larentowicz

The #6 role for Atlanta United will be critical in making Tata Martino’s system function at its highest capacity. On paper, Chris McCann would appear to be the front-runner to earn the starting role here. As a defensive midfielder who can combine strong tackling with class on the ball, McCann should fit Martino’s system well. However, Larentowicz provides a more defensive option than McCann that might be needed. Expect both to see plenty of playing time depending on the mix in the midfield.

Yamil Asad vs. Julian Gressel

Asad comes to Atlanta from Velez Sarsfield in Argentina while Gressel was the #8 pick in the recent SuperDraft from Providence College. Asad should be the guy to pair with Miguel Almirón in the central midfield triangle in front of McCann/Larentowicz. However, Gressel brings more of a goal-scoring mentality to the position that might suit the group better.

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