Atlanta United scored yet another goal at the death Saturday night to secure a share of the points on the road in Philadelphia. The 2-2 draw is a suitable result, but considering the Union were down to ten men for the better part of 30 minutes of the match, it was a great opportunity to take all three points. Here’s what we learned from this very MLSsy game:
Atlanta needs to get back to basics
Atlanta was a victim of it’s own naiveté in the first half as the Five Sripes allowed two goals that should’ve been dealt with relatively easily. As a general rule of thumb, good teams don’t routinely concede goals from long balls, crosses and corner kicks, yet that’s exactly how Atlanta United conceded Saturday night. And this isn’t a revelation. This is a problem that has been a thorn in the team’s side for most of the season. Personally, I thought we had really turned a corner (no pun intended) in this regard during the teams unbeaten streak in midsummer. It’s worrisome to see this stuff creeping back into the team.
In defense of the defense (yeah, I did that), they aren’t the ones to point the finger at. When you’re leaking goals in this way, it’s easy to categorically lay the blame on the defense. In this case, the forwards, especially Tito Villalba and Yamil Asad, have to be better in these situations, letting balls bounce just outside your own box is incredibly dangerous, and they [should] know it.
Brandon Vazquez should’ve entered this game
Unless there’s a physical problem we don’t know about, I do not know why Brandon Vazquez didn’t enter this game. It astounds me that we relied so heavily on heaving balls into the box, while deciding that Brandon Vazquez should not be a player that should enter the game. This is kind of the ideal situation for Vazquez, he’s a huge body that has a nose for the ball, and with 10-man Philadelphia packed in so deep, he would’ve helped tremendously. Instead, Josef Martinez was trying to bicycle kick long balls into the box. Thankfully, we got one in there, but I’m very confused as to why he didn’t appear in the game.
Tyrone Mears is the best right back in the league
Do I even need to explain this?
I’m kidding of course. People will probably overreact to this goal, which proved nothing about his ability to effectively play right back for 90 minutes. But hey, I don’t mean to rain on the parade, it was a decent header. I think he was probably just trying to put it back in the mixer, but hey, you miss all the shots you don’t take, right?
Yamil Asad’s demise is greatly overexaggerated
Seemingly every poor game that Yamil Asad has, the critics are quick to point out his flaws — that he doesn’t move enough and he doesn’t score goals. WELL HAVE I GOT A GAME FOR YOU. Yamil Asad was much improved from his midweek performance against D.C. Aside from his well taken goal, he played in a different position for much of the match Saturday night. Tata Martino told reporters he deployed Asad centrally to help deal with Philadelphia’s Haris Medunjanin and to offer Miguel Almiron more space on the left flank. I have to imagine that Martino wanted to add a bit of passing ability from the middle of the park with the absence of Carlos Carmona. Asad was back to his swaggy self Saturday night, nutmegging defenders and generally being awesome. Yamil Asad is awesome.