My, don’t we feel better? The ship is righted, all is well in the world, sanity has been restored, normal service has resumed, etc., etc. Other than coming away with only 1 point (never an easy task in Providence Park), the Five Stripes turned in a very good road performance on Sunday afternoon. Now they head home for the first home stand in club history (two games in a row at home!?#$@!).
With that heady thought in mind, here are the incontrovertible, authoritative, but totally up for debate Dirty South Soccer staff player ratings:
GK: Alec Kann – 7. Followed up his four saves in New York with five saves in Portland. Got caught up a bit on the goal, but that looked to have been due to losing his footing. For those who are aficionados of the inscrutable Audi Index, Kann scored highest of all Atlanta players for the game.
RB: Tyrone Mears – 7. Didn’t do much defensively, but was very active going forward; he had more passes in the attacking half (24) than in the defensive half (16), and 8 in the final third.
CB: Michael Parkhurst – 4. For the second straight week, Parky quit on a defensive move that led to a goal. He also picked up a yellow for the second straight week, but this one was for a necessary tactical foul. He may be a great captain, but he’s beginning to look like a defensive liability.
CB: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez – 7. Another good game for LGP. A whopping 70 passes on the day, 30 of which were attacking (although none were deep). He also had 5 interceptions, including one right in front of goal.
LB: Mark Bloom – 5. A decent first start for Bloom. Like Mears, Bloom was not very active in defense, and did not do too well challenging for the ball. Pushed forward fairly well, though, and was subbed out after 73 minutes, probably because he was deemed not 90 minutes fit.
CM: Jeff Larentowicz – 6.5. Big Red was tasked with being the defensive cover in the double pivot, and did a creditable job. Gets an extra half point for drawing boos from the home crowd after getting clocked by Blanco.
CM: Carlos Carmona – 6.5. Carlos was all over the field Sunday. He matched LGP for passes, and they were fairly evenly spread over the entire field. He loses a half point for the risky challenge on Blanco, which might (I don’t think it should, but who knows with the MLS DisCo) earn him a one-game suspension rather than the yellow card Kelly issued.
CAM: Miguel Almiron – 8. The Big Grin was back to his normal position and to his normal self. Like Carmona, he was everywhere and made himself an utter headache for the relatively slow Portland defense. However, on a couple of occasions in the box he was perhaps a little too unselfish and didn’t take chances he should have. Despite that, and despite Gressel’s goal, he gets our Man of the Match Honors.
RW: Julian Gressel – 6.5. Justified Martino’s faith in keeping him in the lineup with his first MLS goal. Other than that, though, he was relatively inactive: only 21 successful passes and 11 unsuccessful passes. Subbed out late for Kevin Kratz. Loses a half point for the thumb-sucking goal celebration.
LW: Yamil Asad – 6. What is it with Asad and heads? At least it was his own head this time. Gets the award for most bizarre game of the week. He probably should have been off the field a while longer than he was. Covered the left side of the field very well, but was also involved in allowing the Portland goal.
FWD: Tito Villalba – 6. Had only one shot for the game, but put himself in position for various chances that didn’t get the service they needed. Got horse-collared by Ridgewell in a shockingly uncarded foul.
SUB: Mikey Ambrose – 5. Ambrose’s first Atlanta United appearance didn’t go too well. After he replaced Bloom in the 73rd minute, the defense suddenly got much weaker. He was also responsible for the team’s only offside call of the game.
SUB: Kenwyne Jones – 6. The beginning of the end for Barber Jones? I don’t know about that, but the team was much more its normal swaggering, dominating self without him up top. He was however key in a couple of late defensive stops to preserve the draw.
SUB: Kevin Kratz – Not rated. Came on too late in a clean-up role in the 86th minute.
COACH: Tata Martino – 7. Included at reader request! Whatever was said and done during the week, and the lineup changes made for the game definitely worked in a much better overall outing than the previous two games. However, his post-game comments suggested he is still not happy with the result, and he will be looking for further improvement at home over the next two weeks.
Atlanta United fans – 10. Whoever you 20-30 guys were who made the cross-country trek to sit up in those corner nose-bleed seats, kudos to you, my friends.