Welcome to the Morning After the Morning After. Rather than hastily writing about the events of this week’s Atlanta United match and other events around the league, we want to bring you the kind of well-reasoned, thoughtful analysis of both Atlanta United and the rest of the league that comes from sitting things out for a day or two. Now that we’re 2 days removed from a 1-1 tie DOESN’T EVERYONE FEEL BETTER?
Atlanta United Thought of the Week
“Lies, damned lies and misused statistics”
The NARRATIVE after Wednesday’s 1-1 draw is “Atlanta United is bad at finishing.”
Wednesday was frustrating. That’s fair. The terrible finishing felt like a culmination of four (maybe five) straight subpar performances that have given Atlanta just four points over four games. Also fair. But it’s misguided to think that Atlanta as a team will continue to struggle offensively and will continue to drop points consistently due to a lack of finishing.
It’s difficult to watch. When the misses pile up you begin to assume the worst, and, usually, you’re right.
However, a small selection of games and moments does not mean that this team has suddenly been space-jam-aliened of their talent and is on a crash course toward the bottom of the table. Sometimes — and I know this is hard to believe because we’re wired to need scapegoats — things just don’t go your way. That’s all. Sometimes you don’t have the luck. There’s no grand scheme behind it. There’s nothing that could have been done in practice to correct it. There’s no one person at fault. That can be the hardest thing in the world to believe, but in a sport designed more than any other to punish you for the smallest of mistakes it’s simply healthy to understand that sometimes the shots do not go in. If that punishment comes be thankful if it’s dished out in a road draw in an empty stadium that still leaves you with your fifth straight result on the road. It could be much much worse. The punishment could be this:
The real worry, the kind of worry that could and should keep you up at night with visions of plummeting to the bottom of the table, would come in the form of an Atlanta United team failing to create chances. You wouldn’t even notice the misses if you weren’t creating the chances. Chance creation obviously wasn’t the problem Wednesday or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
To take it a step further, Atlanta United entered this game sixth in the league in expected goals per game at 1.79. Expected goals isn’t designed to give definite answers on who should have and will win games on an individual basis but rather express an overall numerical trend of how often a team is creating quality scoring opportunities over an extended period of time. We’ve created, and will almost certainly continue to create, plenty of chances over the course of this season.
In fact, on a base statistical level we can look and see that Atlanta came into this game averaging 2 goals per game, meaning that they’re actually outperforming that 1.79 goals per game projection. Last year they outperformed their expected goals at an historic rate. Projected at 1.39 expected goals per game, they finished with 2.03 goals per game. You know, like a team with top level talent by league standards that’s actually pretty darn good at finishing.
I get it. 2017 was such an anomaly that it can be frustrating when every other shot isn’t going in. And that’s understandable, but don’t let it trick you into seeing demons that aren’t there. Don’t conflate a bad night with a bad team. Last time I checked, we’re still first in the league.
Oh crap, wait, I was supposed to make a joke or something wasn’t I. Uhhhh...uhmhmmh...HEY ATLANTA IF I WANTED TO WATCH 11 GUYS FAIL TO SCORE FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF I WOULD JUST GO WITH MY FRIENDS TO THE BAR AMIRIGHT OR AMIRIGHT
Atlanta United Tweet of the Week
11 5 Non-Atlanta United Things That Happened In the League Called MLS or Major League Soccer during this Week in MLS*
*Just a few games Wednesday night. Full 11 back next week.
Zombie Kyle Beckerman
So hey, remember last MaMa where I built up Houston and talked about how scary they are and how in the first MaMa I talked about how Real Salt Lake should be jettisoned into the sun? Wellllllllllllll...
What a goal from captain Kyle Beckerman! pic.twitter.com/aDBCX11i9d— Real Salt Lake (@RealSaltLake) May 31, 2018
Kyle Beckerman, the league leader in “Oh yeahhhh he’s still playing”, put RSL past a quality Houston team for RSL’s second straight win and their fifth straight at home.
None of this changes the fact that they should be jettisoned into the sun for losing 4-1 to Philadelphia, who are an awful, awful soccer team and ohmygodwaitwhat
No. Screw you. It’s Alan ******** Gordon.
Seriously though, what a goal. Less seriously, can you believe they’ve convinced the Philly color guy to call every goal a “doop”?
Anyway, Philadelphia has dooped two straight, but none of this change the fact that doop. Doop.
Counting down the days
Before Zlatan quits and/or murders a Dos Santos.
Zlatan scored twice in this one, but LAG came away empty handed because, you know.
None of this changes the fact that everything in LA is totally fine. Totally fine guys stop worrying. They’re good. Seriously. Everything is fine.
Skyline chili is trash.
None of this changes the fact that skyline chili is trash.
Absolutely none of this changes the fact that Alberth Elis is still The Truth
MLS Tweet of the Week
Alpharetta Dad Thought of the Week - Sponsored by a Pink Floyd coverband performing at this bar called “Wish You Were Beer”
“Why isn’t Tata practicing shooting more? If he spent less time worrying about what formation he should run and more time on shooting drills we would have won 5-0. Formations are pointless anyways. Everyone pick a man and stay with him and let’s go.”