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The Daily Dirt, March 27: Revolution

Could Tata Martino inspire a new way forward for MLS and American soccer?

MLS: Chicago Fire at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Great piece to read this morning over at Rabona 57 on Tata Martino and the gamble he took to come to Atlanta. Check it out.

Some wanted to paint a picture of Tata as a failure after not winning a trophy in his one season at Barcelona and two Copa Americas with Argentina. Let’s not forget that he lost the title on the last day of the regular season and did not lose in his first 20 matches with Barcelona. He was also faced with the difficult task of following in beloved manager Tito Vilanova, who died after a long battle with cancer late in the season. He replaced Vilanova in late July and did not get a full summer transfer window or preseason with the club. With Argentina, he lost in the Copa America final to Chile on penalties in back-to-back tournaments. However, some wanted to say that he was a failure.

It was the intense pressure he felt in these last two jobs that could have led him to seek out the Atlanta United job. Martino is a coach first, he wants to work with players and leave his mark on a squad and a club. He saw that in MLS he would be able to put in the type of work that he wanted to do, while eliminating some of the negative aspects of his last two jobs. In Arthur Blank, he knew that he would be supported in a world-class manner and be able to have the resources to do his job well.

The Rabona 57 piece also opens the door to what Martino’s overall impact could be on MLS. Some clubs have shied away from hiring foreign managers, Martino’s success could change that opinion. He brings a deeper level of sophistication tactically to the league, which will only benefit everyone over time. He also brings a slightly new style of play to the league, one that is exciting to watch and could inspire American coaches to emulate.

His acquisition was also the gateway for Atlanta United to be as successful as they have been. The club would not have been as attractive for players like Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez, Yamil Asad, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Carlos Carmona, and others without him. A big part of their reasoning for coming was to learn from Martino and improve their game. Not many clubs in MLS have a manager with that appeal.

Tata Martino has the opportunity in Atlanta to accomplish many things both on and off the field. If he succeeds, MLS and American soccer could be a much improved place because of it.


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