MARIETTA, Ga. — With its fourth game in 10 days on the horizon, Atlanta United is beginning to experience a little wear and tear. Manager Frank de Boer said Monday midfielder Darlington Nagbe and defender Michael Parkhurst will not travel to Vancouver for the Five Stripes’ Wednesday game against the Whitecaps.
“The rest will travel to Vancouver, and I think we still have a good team that we can put in the lineup,” de Boer said at the Children’s Healthcare Training Ground Monday. “It’s also chance for other players to show themselves.”
Nagbe and Parkhurst both participated in a light training session with Atlanta’s first team Monday.
The Five Stripes, coming off a 1-0 win over Orlando City SC on Sunday, will make the cross-continental trek to Vancouver Monday afternoon, using one of their four charter flights allotted by Major League Soccer. De Boer did not get into lineup specifics Monday, but with Nagbe and Parkhurst out, Jeff Larentowicz and former Whitecap Brek Shea may be in line to start in midfield and at left back, respectively.
A number of MLS teams face congested schedules this month, and some managers have opted for heavy rotation in certain games. De Boer does not agree with that tactic and instead opts to make limited changes to his lineups.
“You can say, ‘OK, do eight, nine rotations.’ Then say, ‘OK, we give the other guys an opportunity,’ but I think it’s not an opportunity,” de Boer explained. “Normally it’s a chance when you have two or three rotations, and still the majority of the team is still there. I think then it’s an opportunity for a player who didn’t play that much, but when you do 11 or nine or 10 players, for me it’s not an opportunity for them, because they never play together, so you cannot expect that suddenly they play as a team.
“I see a lot of teams who did that, normally they never have a good result from that.”
Atlanta is rounding into form. The win over Orlando was the Five Stripes’ fifth victory in six games and fourth consecutive clean sheet, tying an MLS record. Despite the lack of two key players and a long road trip, de Boer has no intention of setting his team up for a draw against the Whitecaps.
“I can be satisfied with a point when I think that is the most we can get out of this game, but still I think we are Atlanta United, and we are the champions, and I think we are always going for a win,” the manager said. “I always go for a win. It doesn’t even come into my mind to go for a draw.”