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Signal Intel: Hot-and-cold Atlanta facing very different Fire

First really hot day of the year will sap legs and challenge concentration

MLS: Chicago Fire at Orlando City SC
Matt Polster was still rehabbing a knee injury when the Fire got blown out in Atlanta.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Big thanks to Haris Kruscik of Dirty South Soccer, who was kind enough to answer our enquiries:

Hot Time: The Fire are without Dax McCarty and David Accam** tonight - who's missing for international duty for Atlanta? How do you anticipate Martino adjusting for the absences?

Dirty South Soccer: Miguel Almiron and Kenwyne Jones were both called up for international duty. However, we could still potentially see the both of them come off the bench tonight. As for their absence from the starting lineup, I personally think Kevin Kratz will be a direct switch for Almiron in the CAM role, but don't be surprised to see Josef Martinez return to the XI today for the first time since the last Atlanta/Chicago match back in March.

Jones hasn't started for Atlanta over the past few matches, so the adjustment for him is really minute.

HT: Now that you've had a good, long look at our former third-string keeper, how do you feel about Alec Kann?

DSS: I think Kann has done surprisingly well this season. He's fifth among MLS keepers in saves and hasn't made any major blunders in goal, which is all you should really ask from a goalie who is getting his first taste of what it's like to be a consistent starter in MLS.

Now when Brad Guzan comes over once the summer transfer window opens, Kann will almost certainly find a spot on the bench. However, if Guzan struggles mightily, it's nice to know Kann is more than capable of holding his own in goal.

HT: Freestyle: Tell us something surprising about this team that's not generally understood.

DSS: Atlanta has been held scoreless only once this season, the least among any expansion side in MLS history. Their 28 goals scored are the most in MLS this season.

I guess those two stats are just examples of how Atlanta's attack is generally tough to contain.

Injuries (from last week): Josef Martinez, Zach Loyd, Jacob Peterson. (Editor: Martinez is expected to be available for today’s game after a long absence. See the lineup prediction link below.]

Lineup Prediction: Please read Haris’ very thorough answer to this question here on Dirty South Soccer.

**Note: David Accam apparently will be available for this match, as he’s not yet left to join Ghana! We deduced this by expertly sleuthing out this Twitter exchange:

So, in cased you missed it, David Accam is awesome. Also, David Accam is here, which apparently was a surprise only to me?* - SO AWESOME.

*Citizen journalism, y’all.