Before the Five Stripes headed out for the barely standing concrete trash heap and possible rejected filming location for the cinematic adaption of Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” that is RFK Stadium, Tata and company were on hand to talk tomorrow’s game, what went wrong the first time and what’s changed since *trigger warning* a 3-1 home loss to the worst team in the conference.
German vs. German
The biggest question heading into Wednesday was who would jump into the holding midfield role usually occupied by Carlos Carmona. Yellow card accumulation has sidelined Carmona for Wednesday’s game and the suspension leaves Tata with a difficult decision.
When asked if he had an idea of who would take over Carmona’s role, Tata said, “Yes.”
After Tata got in a good laugh at the expense of the young, talented Dirty South Soccer reporter that asked the question, Martino admitted there were two choices available.
“We have two options,” Martino said through a translator. “One would be that Julian would drop into play that holding midfield role and Josef is up top with Tito on the right. The second option is we leave the team exactly how it’s been and move Kratz into that role.”
If it is Kratz who gets the start (his second league start of the season), he says he feels comfortable filling in for Carmona.
“I like to play in a holding midfield role. I played there in Germany. I’ve played in many different midfield positions and with training every day in Tata’s style I think everyone knows what to do. I think we will have a good squad out there.”
I’ve changed I swear.
If you need a reminder, the last time Atlanta faced D.C. they got walloped at home in one of the worst performances of the year. The Five Stripes took the lead early with a Kenwyne Jones header, but lost control of the game and D.C. capitalized repeatedly on Atlanta mistakes. `
The players seemed determined to make sure that if D.C. gets knocked down Wednesday night, they stay down.
“We learned that we can’t take out foot off the gas once we’ve scored first,” Alec Kann said. “It’s happened a couple of times this year and we’re working on it. We’re just making sure we’re solid after we score and make sure we’re defending well and doing things the right way.”
“We have to play like we did in the first 25-30 minutes of the first game because we had a lot of chances up until they scored the first goal,” Yamil Asad said through a translator. “We’re just going to try and repeat those 30 minutes. Our team is a little different because Josef is back, and Tito and Miguel are both going through good moments right now. The confidence level of the team is high.”
D.C. is bad.
As Atlanta’s confidence continues to grow, D.C. is trending the opposite way.
They can’t score.
Like, at all.
Since the April 30 meeting Atlanta, D.C. has scored exactly one goal against teams not sponsored by liquor stores.
In seven league games, their only goal and win came in a 1-0 over Vancouver where they were outshot 22-7. (By the way, if you haven’t already thrown your phone through the wall thinking about that game, Atlanta outshot D.C. 26-9 at Bobby Dodd.)
Despite those struggles, Tata is making sure the team stays on its toes.
“Those situations you’re talking about, like D.C. not having scored a goal, we can’t pay any attention to that. We have to come into this game expecting a team that’s been averaging three goals a game. We need to keep ourselves focused because when we get into that mindset that’s when you make mistakes when you’re not expecting a lot,” he said.
D.C. United is currently last in the Eastern Conference with a -13 goal differential. Dear God if we lose again.
Yamil Asad is Good.
Yamil Asad has two fewer assists than D.C. United has goals.
“El Turcito” picked up his eighth assist of the season against Columbus, tying him for the league lead.
Asad says the high assist totals are just what happens when he and his and teammates do their jobs.
“Me, along with Miguel, Carlos and Julian, what we do is we try to look for the best option at all times. Whether it’s Josef, Tito or Miguel himself, we’re just looking to play the right pass,” he said. “For my position, it’s important that I’m able to do my best to provide goals for the team. Like you said I have eight assists, but a huge part of that is my teammates converting.”
Asad has only scored twice this season but is perfectly fine with letting his teammates do the finishing if the team continues to pick up points.
“It’s just important for me to provide passes for my teammates, and Tito and Josef have been playing well and finishing. I’m ok with not scoring as long as the team is playing well and winning games and we’re getting points. It would bother me if the team wasn’t performing well, but we are so it’s fine.”
Everyone is fine. Probably.
Finally, there are only two real injury concerns right now for the Five Stripes (excluding Jacob Peterson, who has ceased to exist and I’m not entirely sure ever did). Anton Walkes went down in the U.S. Open Cup match against Charleston last week, while Kenwyne Jones was injured before a national team appearance with Trinidad and Tobago as CONCACAF the Merciless and Powerful continues to pile up its body count.
Anton sounds fine, while Kenwyne may be slightly worse for wear.
“For Anton, apparently, it’s not a serious injury, it’s just a muscular thing,” Tata said. “For Kenwyne, we’re still waiting until the inflammation in his knee goes down.”