This was, on the whole, pretty much a yawner of a game. Not what we’ve come to expect from the most exciting team in MLS. And the Chicago Fire weren’t exactly inspiring either. It was as if both teams had Gino’s East deep dish pizza for lunch. Very frustrating; coming off a poor display last week against Vancouver I would have expected a greater effort out of the team.
Once again, the possession stat (61.1% Atlanta) was utterly meaningless. This week it was even more the case. The key stats for this game? Advantages for Atlanta of 7 to 4 on corners and–get this–21 to 4 on crosses. All of which amounted to an exercise in futility.
With that in mind, here are this week’s Dirty South Soccer Staff Player Ratings:
Given the totally lackluster performance of the team as a group and individually, I was really tempted not to award Man of the Match honors this week. If anyone is to get it, it goes to the three guys in goal.
GK: Michael, Alex and Alec Kann – 6. If you were watching the UniMas broadcast with the English commentary, you are probably now deaf having ripped your ears off in disgust. However, you may have noted that they gave Kann three different first names. He/they had 4 saves on the day, and continued the improvement in distribution. With Brad Guzan showing fairly well for the Nats on Sunday, we have a goalkeeper debate brewing.
RB: Tyrone Mears - 3. Mears is devolving from Mr. Ineffective to Mr. Liability. He had 70 touches on the ball, and 62 passes. Among those were 5 long passes (only one of which was successful) and 6 crosses (all unsuccessful). To boot he committed a foolish handball to give Chicago a penalty kick and more or less kill any chance for Atlanta to get back into the game. Is it time to replace him?
CB: Michael Parkhurst - 5. An adequate performance from the captain on Saturday. He had 3 tackles, 3 interceptions and 5 clearances, leading the team in all three categories. He was for once not to blame for either goal conceded. For what it’s worth, he was Atlanta’s highest scorer on the inscrutable Audi Index.
CB: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez - 4. I said last week that the Vancouver game was LGP’s worst of the year. Not any more. Pirez looked equally uncomfortable in both offense and defense, and was the player holding Nikolic and Accam onside for the first goal.
LB: Greg Garza - 6. As long as Atlanta fails to produce any offense on the right wing, the left becomes crucial to providing that offense. Consequently, shutting Garza down narrows Atlanta’s options considerably. He was by a wide margin the team leader in touches and passes, and was generally more successful in the latter than Mears. However, he ultimately was unable to produce anything.
CM: Jeff Larentowicz – 5. In a slightly surprising move, Larry was subbed out in the 64th minute for the long-awaited return of Josef Martinez. In those 64 minutes, he continued to perform a key role as the effective 3rd center back. He was largely invisible in this game, which is not necessarily a bad thing in that job.
CM: Carlos Carmona – 4.5. Continued in his pairing with Larentowicz as the more forward of the two. But just as ineffective as the rest of the team. Loses a half point for the caution, which puts him on four and makes him the first Atlanta player in danger of suspension due to yellow card accumulation.
CAM: Kevin Kratz- 5. Kratz started in Almiron’s position allowing the latter to continue to rest a bit from his midweek activities with Paraguay, and was subbed out in the 63rd minute for the same. I doubt anyone expected him to be a fully functional Miggy-bot, and in the absence of strong service from the back he had little opportunity to show his stuff. Also loses a half point for a yellow card, but gets it back for taking the first long corner in United history.
LW: Yamil Asad - 5. In terms of heart, maybe the best field player on the team this week, but as with last week’s performance, he was unable to generate anything meaningful. Seemed to have a slightly heavy first touch.
RW: Julian Gressel - 6. It was a close call between Garza and Gressel as to the best field player for Atlanta. Garza probably gets the nod, though, as Gressel’s work rate was not quite as high. 44 touches, 33 passes.
FWD: Tito Villalba - 5. Last week’s problem was defending set pieces. This week’s problem was Tito’s finishing. He had four shots off goal, of which at least 2, possibly 3, should have been solid scoring chances. Pulled in the 75th minute for Vazquez, and looked gassed when he came off.
SUB: Miguel Almiron - 5. Miggy played his first game as a sub, and in 27 minutes was unable to generate any real offense for the second straight week. The good news is that he seemed pretty comfortable coming off a mid-week game and long-distance travel.
SUB: Josef Martinez – 5. Tempting to give him a 10 just for getting on the field. But as with Almiron, he was too late to make much of a difference. Had one shot blocked and made a penalty call that was never going to be given.
SUB: Brandon Vazquez – 4. On the field for 15 official minutes, and did little in that time. Had one shot off goal.
COACH: Tata Martino - 5. Another unsuccessful game plan. Tata needs to go back to the drawing board, at laest as far as getting his team motivated is concerned.
CONDOLENCES: Andres Cantor - 10. Because your legacy gets buried deeper every time Nico gets behind a microphone. We feel your pain.