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The Daily Dirt, March 7: The Gold Experience

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Minnesota awaits for the Five Stripes

@ATLUTD

Atlanta United gets back to training today, putting the disappointing loss in Sunday’s opener behind them and looking ahead to Minnesota United. They are spending part of the week at the Falcons’ facility in Flowery Branch before finishing in Marietta at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground. Once everything is completed in Marietta, the club will not have to split up their weeks like this.

Manager Tata Martino will conduct his weekly press conference on Thursday afternoon in Flowery Branch.

Much has been said about the final score of Minnesota’s inaugural match, but the Loons were better than the 5-1 scoreline. Christian Ramirez’s inclusion made them much more dangerous in the attack and his goal gave them a lifeline. It also kicked Portland into another gear, and they responded accordingly with three goals to finish off Minnesota.

Questions in Minnesota have been raised about the backline, with Vadim Demidov scoring particularly low marks for his performance at center back. With speed an issue for the Loons in the back, Atlanta must figure out ways to isolate Josef Martinez and Tito Villalba in one-on-one opportunities against slower defenders.

They have to do this without allowing space to Minnesota attackers Kevin Molino, Johan Venegas, and Christian Ramirez. Both Molino and Venegas can play wide, but like to cut inside and get involved as additional forwards. Ramirez is a big forward who is very crafty in front of goal. He has been a star in the NASL, long considered one of the best American forwards outside MLS.

Atlanta will not have an easy time against the Loons, both because of their attacking quality and the weather conditions. As of this writing, Weather Underground predicts that the weather at kickoff will be 32 degrees with a 60% chance of snow.


Domestic

Bruce Arena will be cautious with USMNT players returning to full fitness (ESPN)

Will Johnson played a key role for Orlando City in their opening day win over NYCFC (Orlando Sentinel)

Columbus Crew rue missed chances to pick up an opening day win (Massive Report)

Former Rams wide receiver Isaac Bruce on board with the MLS expansion bid to St. Louis (STL Today)

New NASL club San Francisco Deltas trying to increase awareness via social media (SF Gate)

International

A profile of Richard Orlowski, Belize’s American manager (Guardian)

Palermo appoints an American president (USA Today)

Lessons learned from the past week in Liga MX (FMF State of Mind)