You know the phrase, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened?”
This match was the opposite of that.
Atlanta United’s 0-0 draw away to the New England Revolution was probably the dullest, eye-gouging experience us Atlanta United fans have experienced this year. While we are all dumber for having watched it, here are some things we may or may not have learned.
Atlanta looked tired, finally
To be fair, we’ve seen this coming. We knew that Atlanta has been slowly deteriorating physically of the last 3 weeks or so as the team has played roughly 83 matches in the last month. But seriously, we’ve seen the team wear down in the second halves of the last few matches but thankfully we’d had comfortable leads, so the team managed those second halves well enough to secure the three points. Saturday night was not one of those games. Through the combination of the fixture congestion plus the travel, the fatigue finally caught up with Atlanta. The team just wasn’t able to string together sustained possession or attacking moves that comes from the energy in midfield to control the game. Thus, Atlanta sat deeper than we’re accustomed and tried to play on the counter. It was a simple enough plan that New England was able to see out with relative ease. In the end, both teams had a couple good chances, but the draw was the fairest result on the table.
Despite the lackluster match, Atlanta did not lose ground to NYCFC
The result in New England was much more palatable about an hour following the final whistle when Eastern Conference rivals NYCFC also took a single point on the road to Chicago. With Atlanta and NYC both gaining a single point, Atlanta still maintains control of its own destiny. The Five Stripes sit in third place at the moment, but the team has one game in hand, which will be played Tuesday at home against Minnesota. If Atlanta is able to win that match, they will jump NYCFC to second place in the Eastern Conference via tiebreaker, and will control it’s own fate in securing the conference’s second seed and first-round bye in the playoffs. This is a crucial waypoint for the team if it wants to put itself in prime position for the playoffs. Not only would Atlanta avoid a single-game elimination match — a game Tata Martino referred to as “a final” — the bye would ensure the team doesn’t have to play yet another midweek match on short rest following the last game of the regular season.
If there’s any good news emanating from Saturday, it’s that Toronto FC locked up Supporters Shield. As much as we may have dreamed of it being possible, it was never realistically on the cards, and it means Toronto may be an easier opponent for Atlanta when they play during the last matchweek of the regular season.
Thank you for reading
If your still with us to this point, damn y’all are dedicated DSS readers. Props to you. But seriously you should get back to work, or attend to you children, or whatever else you’re avoiding doing right now by reading this.
I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, this isn’t something I learned!” Well...
There. There’s an opinion I hope you’re happy. I’m not. That game sucked. Y’all are better than me at this anyway, so let me know what I’m missing in the comments.