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The Daily Dirt, February 8: Expectations

The result does not matter on Saturday, other things are far more important

Soccer: International Men's Soccer Friendly-Jamaica at USA Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Join us tonight for the ATLSoccer chat on our Facebook page, bring any questions you have about Atlanta United or the upcoming MLS season and we’ll discuss them. It starts at 8:00 p.m.

One question that has come up often is regarding expectations for Saturday’s match in Chattanooga. The result on Saturday does not matter, do not let the final score affect how feel about this team moving forward. This will be their first time playing an opponent in front of a crowd. The starters will likely not play more than 45-60 minutes, and they might not even be grouped together depending on the squad rotation.

This game is about fitness and getting the players into a match rhythm. The preseason schedule has been structured very nicely for that, with a game each weekend moving forward and a mid-week game thrown in. This replicates a typical stretch of the MLS season and gets the team accustomed to it.

This game will also be a huge one for many of the Chattanooga FC players and they will be incredibly motivated to perform well in front of a huge, partisan crowd. Atlanta’s players are looking ahead to opening day in March and Saturday is just one step on that journey.

I hope to see some of the combinations start to emerge for Atlanta United. The midfield triangle, the wingers running off of Kenwyne Jones, and the backline are all areas that will need time to develop. Saturday can get the process started.

Beyond that, it will just be nice to have an actual game to talk about...


Domestic

LA Galaxy draw 1-1 with Xolos in their first preseason action (Corner of the Galaxy)

Orlando City forward Hadji Barry is ready for his second MLS season (Orlando Sentinel)

MLS preseason brings an economic boost to Tucson (KGUN)

Quirks of the NASL schedule (This Is Cosmos Country)

Sunil Gulati on why promotion and relegation is not part of U.S. soccer (SI)

International

Leicester has found 2016-17 much more difficult (SB Nation)

USYNT Haji Wright scores twice for Schalke’s U19’s (Nats Abroad)

Local

Keep your cool when it comes to Atlanta United expectations (MLS)

Interview with Atlanta United U18 player Lagos Kunga (World Soccer Talk)