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Illustrated box score Atlanta United at Chicago Fire: Cloud Gate

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Soccer as impressionist masterpiece

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

You didn’t know it but you watch soccer to suffer. It is etched on the Mt. Olympus of cliches but - say it with me - Atlanta United’s 2-1 win was a tale of two halves. The first 45 just were a mess - Atlanta couldn’t find any rhythm and the Chicago press made them look like some sort of Eastern Illinois Atletico Madrid despite having only 3.5 players who seem like they belong in MLS. I have no idea what Tata Martino told his team at half-time, but I assume it went something like ‘they’re pressing a lot, but not actually challenging for the ball - just take your time and pick a pass’ - I assume that because that’s what happened and it worked beautifully.

Before any of that happened, the Chicago Fire faithful created a replica of A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.

See, up close it looks like a bunch of dots, just incoherent jibberish rambling on about a bygone era with outdated rules and a league that was two seasons from having Andrew Shue feature on a roster.

But step back.

(No really, put your phone down, walk away from your computer screen)

(No wait, come back, otherwise you can’t scroll)

What do you see?

MLS: Chicago Fire at Minnesota United FC Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Truly, the greatest expansion team in MLS history has come so far in its 20 years of existence. Georges Seurat is a master.

The box score painted a clearer picture...

Let’s play a game, without looking, name two players that are missing from the Chicago box score - or just name the player who scored the goal for the Fire. Go ahead, you saw the game, I’ll wait.

For Atlanta, there game was good and a road win is a road win. But they were never really tested by Chicago in the game and if the Fire had more than three players who were capable of playing in MLS they’d have had a decent lead going into the half. For now, Minnesota United is just happy that they aren’t the only team that is built on the idea that the core of a team should come from the MLS Super Draft.

The team stats show that Atlanta made the most of their chances...

An 8 game unbeaten streak sees Atlanta United sitting on top of the MLS table. The strong showing comes after the team suffered an embarrassing loss just two months ago though it seems that the result really hasn’t fazed the team. For Chicago, they might as well be wearing sunglasses at night, it’s hard to believe they could do worse even if they couldn’t see what they were doing.

Atlanta will host Sporting Kansas City Wednesday as Tata Martino and Peter Vermes will get a chance to continue their discussion of which city has the better BBQ.