The USMNT defeated Paraguay 1-0 at a very cold WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina Tuesday night. That however was not the ultimate goal for Atlanta United supporters. It’s great for national pride and all that jazz, but almost every one of them would have taken any result as long as Miguel Almiron and Darlington Nagbe came off the field injury-free. Well, mission accomplished.
The play of the club teammates was a direct cause of their respective national sides’ approach to the match rather than the two players. Although both were active, Nagbe had a clear advantage in communication with his fellow USMNT players compared to his Paraguayan counterpart, specifically in the passing aspect.
Nagbe maintained steady possession, rarely turned the ball over, and was especially active in the attack during the first half.
“Darlington is one of the few guys that can break down a team on the dribble,” said U.S head coach Dave Sarachan. “I used him in a wide role, but I encouraged him not to just stay on the touchline and to find pockets to come in. He’s a great leader.”
Almiron on the other hand begged for through balls to be played to him in open areas during Paraguayan counters, but was denied almost every time. To be fair, even when Almiron did have possession, he overdid it by attempting to dribble through defenders as a way of compensating for finally getting the ball. Obviously that didn’t do him justice either and it was Paraguay’s doom.
“We limited Almiron pretty much for the night,” Sarachan added. “It was an important piece in making sure we kept a clean sheet.”
Ultimately it was a frustrating night for Atlanta’s engine, but then again, it was always going to be disappointing for at least one Atlanta United player.
Look at the bright side though! Nagbe played well and both players’ health is intact! That’s all we really care about! Go soccer!