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The Daily Dirt, February 28: Congestion

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Red Bulls’ fixture congestion presents an opportunity for Atlanta

Atlanta United

Jesse Marsch, manager of the New York Red Bulls, is not happy about his club’s schedule situation. He made this very clear on MLS’ Extra Time Radio. It is a very difficult transition to go from a CONCACAF Champions League match on Thursday night in Vancouver to a Sunday night match in Atlanta. One would think that MLS could have kept the Red Bulls on the West Coast to mitigate the travel issues, but the schedule did not work out that way.

It is highly unlikely that Marsch will be able to start his first choice lineup in both games and find success. He will likely have to prioritize the CCL match and then see who is freshest for the Atlanta game. It is a tough way to open the season, but the Atlanta game is 1 of 34 while the CCL game is the second leg of a quarterfinal series. There is little doubt as to which is more important.

As some of have said, the situation is not ideal but the Red Bulls’ preseason has been quite a roller coaster without this scheduling complication. Ali Curtis is now gone in what appears to be some sort of power struggle within the club. A preseason game was scheduled in Arizona on the same day that the team had its first CCL game at Red Bull Arena. Maybe that was a way to get some players ready to feature in the Atlanta match, or it was just poor planning.

Atlanta has a prime opportunity to get its history started in league play with a good result on Sunday due to the Red Bulls’ misfortune. A tired team traveling across the country should struggle to cope with Atlanta’s speed and pressing defense. Tata Martino might feel for Jesse Marsch personally, but he is licking his chops professionally.


Domestic

Brad Evans out 5-7 weeks with a calf strain for the Seattle Sounders (Seattle Times)

Big defensive changes this season for the Columbus Crew (Soccer America)

Minnesota United connecting its foundation to the future (official)

U.S. U20’s take big step towards World Cup qualification with win over Mexico (Stars and Stripes FC)

Here’s how the U.S. U20’s beat Mexico for the first time in 31 years (MLS)

International

China’s soccer frenzy showing signs of fatigue (Reuters)

Local