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The Daily Dirt, March 13: So Icy

Big win, but don’t look too hard for meaning...

Atlanta United FC v Minnesota United FC Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Hopefully Atlanta United’s players have thawed out by now after setting TCF Bank Stadium’s snow covered field on fire yesterday. 6-1 wins don’t happen every day, and this one will go down in history as the first in history for the Five Stripes.

The dominating scoreline does not reveal quite as much about this team as you might think though. The conditions did affect the game, pass completion percentages were very low for both teams. Short passing was incredibly difficult as the snow fell harder throughout the match. However, Atlanta is a team that does not need huge swaths of possession to be effective. This is not tiki-taka, this is tiki-Tata. The quick-strike ability of this attack is deadly no matter how long they have the ball.

One common thread through Atlanta’s best performances so far in 2017 has been scoring early goals. Josef Martinez’s goal yesterday in the third minute made the game get more frantic, which allows Atlanta to press more and create quick counter strikes. Tata Martino’s squad can adapt to the game as it presents itself, but it is best with an early lead when it can break the opposition’s spirit through a stifling press.

Beyond that, don’t worry too much about yesterday’s game from an analysis perspective. Enjoy the highlights, enjoy the feeling coming out of it, but don’t study it too hard to find meaning. On top of the way the game played out, Minnesota is just a mess right now. Some said that the Loons’ signings were shrewd and would pay off as well as Atlanta’s big ticket acquisitions. Jay-Z had the best response, “Well, we don’t believe you, you need more people.” Minnesota has to upgrade its backline and central midfield as soon as possible in order to compete in MLS.

Atlanta has a week to prepare for the undefeated, and much improved from recent years, Chicago Fire. They will present some different challenges than Tata Martino has seen in his first two MLS opponents. David Accam is a game-breaking talent on the left and the central midfield tandem of Dax McCarty and Juninho is as good as any in the league. We will see where Atlanta truly is at this point in the season next Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.


Domestic

Portland notches their first road win since MLS Cup 2015, Timbers beat the Galaxy 1-0 (Stumptown Footy)

Dominating performance by NYCFC at Yankee Stadium, 4-0 rout of DC United (Hudson River Blue)

Matt Doyle’s thoughts on Week 2 around the league (MLS)

Great look at Cincinnati’s first attempt at big-time soccer, the American Soccer League’s Cincinnati Comets (Queen City Discovery)

USMNT’s Christian Pulisic embodies new Borussia Dortmund spirit (ESPN)

International

The oldest goalscorer in world soccer tallied yesterday in Japan (BBC)

Arsenal stars are looking for raises (Standard)