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 finally back on track with a win after only picking up four points in the four games prior DOESN’T EVERYONE FEEL BETTER?
Atlanta United Thought of the Week
“Well that was weird. Again.”
More like Weirdlanta, amiright?
So, obviously, this happened.
Wild sequence in #ATLvPHI. Before Martinez took the penalty, the Union were still arguing with the ref and Bedoya was sent off with 2nd yellow for dissent. At that point, Medunjanin absolutely lost his mind and went CRAZY to get 2 quick yellows and be sent off. #DOOP #ATLUTD #MLS pic.twitter.com/HWtj5E9FiU— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) June 3, 2018
What’s strange about it is that it felt somewhat familiar in a sense. Like a warm blanket of random disruption. This season has almost been defined by consistent moments of game-changing oddities. Red cards, video reviews and penalties have flipped more games than not on their head. Let’s rank each game this year from least weird to wait what how did this actually happen in actual game is this real life. As with any super serious list I make, I’m right.
13. 2-1 win over Orlando City
We beat Orlando, and their fans acted like dummies. Nothing to see here...
Ok fine it was really weird, but I feed off Orlando pot shots. We scored off a penalty in this one.
12. 2-1 win over Chicago
This one felt like your regular, boring road trip all the way through. Alan Gordon didn’t even score to make it weird. Both teams had 50% possession. Yawn.
11. 2-0 win over LAG
Somehow a game with Zlatan involved may have been the most normal of the year. No cards, no VAR as far as I can remember and a solid, enjoyable road win. Miguel Almiron did score off a penalty though.
10. 3-1 win over D.C. United
A nice, boring game but bonus points for actually beating D.C. United for the first time to bump up the weird.
9. 2-2 draw with NYCFC
This is probably the best-played game of the year and had minimal interruptions but Chris McCann scored in it. A game where Chris McCann scored is 9th. NINTH. There was also a penalty awarded to and converted by NYCFC.
8. 1-1 draw with New England
Up one, Atlanta misses like five clear cut chances before giving up an 88th minute penalty to Teal Bunburry. Teal. Bunburry.
7. 4-1 win over Montreal
Almiron scores a penalty and Kevin Kratz (!) bangs in two world class free kicks in a game where Atlanta had 74% possesion but still found themselves trailing by one for 57 minutes before scoring four times in the final 20 minutes. Montreal scored with one of two shots on target.
6. 4-1 win over Vancouver
Kendall Waston elbows LGP accidentally because he’s eight feet tall and that’s just kind of where his elbow was. 15th minute red card for Waston after an extremely long review. Waston begins to clap the decision (for reasons?) before realizing the red card is actually awarded to him. Martinez converts the subsequent penalty before going on to tally his fourth career MLS hat trick. Andrew Carleton play his first somewhat significant minutes in MLS and bags an assist. The other Atlanta goal comes by way of Aaron Maund who does not play for Atlanta United but in fact plays for the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club.
5. 3-1 win over Philadelphia
That amazing double red card sequence because captain Alejandro Bedoya “needed to tie his sock” or something. Two Josef penalties and goal from open play to tie him for the MLS record for career hat tricks after just 34 games.
4. 1-0 win over Minnesota United
Atlanta scores in the third minute by of bouncing the ball off the crossbar and subsequently off Francisco Calvo who does not not play for Atlanta United but in fact plays for the Minnesota United Football Club. LGP receives his second yellow in the 38th minute for hip checking a player into the ad boards. Atlanta, now down to 10 men, bunkers like they never have before, concedes 72% of possession, almost certainly a club record (I’m guessing), and somehow keeps a clean sheet due to a little luck and the fact that Minnesota United’s only idea was to play 49 (yes, really) crosses that only generated three shots on goal all in the midst of 16-degree (Fahrenheit) weather.
3. 5-0 win over LAFC
Chris McCann is awared a red card in the FIRST MINUTE. It’s changed by VAR. Up 2-0 despite 17 shots on target from LAFC (one (!) on target), Atlanta earns a penalty in the 88th minute after video review. Miguel scores. Up 3-0, despite 59% possession for LAFC, Joao Moutinho receives a second yellow card for a handball in the box off a free kick in the 90th minute plus two minutes of stoppage time. Miguel scores. Up 4-0, newly substituted Romario Williams scores his first MLS goal in the 90th minute plus seventh minutes of stoppage time.
2. 2-0 loss to SKC
The first VARening. Josef scores in the fifth minute but it’s disallowed by VAR on a claim of offside due to a rule that I would call “firmly entrenched in a gray area”. Brad Guzan receives a red card for a denial of a goal scoring opportunity in the 34th minute. 70th pick in the 2018 MLS Superdraft Paul Christensen enters as goalkeeper due to injuries to the second and third string keeper. Christensen, now playing in front of 45,000 people after last playing in front of like 30 at Portland University. Plays well in a bizarre situation but can’t keep SKC off the board in the first home loss of the year. Tata says postgame that it’s embarrassing to the United States to be sending Mark Geiger to the world cup.
- 3-1 loss to NYRB
The second and the most VARening of all the VARenings ever. Up 1-0, Josef Martinez scores in the 31st minute but the goal is disallowed after video review says he committed a foul before receiving the ball. Moments later, NYRB is awarded a penalty as Miles Robinson gets tangled up with Bradley Wright-Phillips in the box. It is a very soft penalty. Royer converts. Everything unravels and Atlanta loses 3-1. Greg Garza picks up a red card. Martino and LGP both disparage the state of the refereeing post game. LGP calls the refereeing stupid.
In all, that’s a whole lot of red cards, two handfuls of penalties and too much VAR.
Why so much weird? Well, at home it appears to come down to one thing: Y’all. These quotes from Philadelphia manager, Jim Curtin, and red card haver and potential anger management needer, Haris Medunjanin, sum it up.
“I understand as human beings, I understand that it’s a difficult game to ref. I understand that there is 50,000 people here and it’s loud and there is the heat of the moment. But I would love for him to come I think it would have been a very good game, unfortunately it was ruined and again credit to their fans. I think they influenced the referee,” Curtin said. “I think that everything they have built here, and I mean this as a compliment, is impressive and it does sway human beings. There is quality on the field with their players. The atmosphere they create here, maybe made some rash decisions to be made. Sometimes it’s best to step back and assess the situation and maybe make the right call and slow down a little bit warned them it would be us versus the crowd and some difficult decisions. Don’t expect decisions to go our way.”
“We dominated. Then, the ref decided to give them the PK for no reason at all. Everyone saw that it was not a penalty. We are in this stadium with this crowd and you get scared then whistle for the home team,” Reddy McRedcardgetter said.
It may be a while before the weird slows down. At least at home. The largest crowd in MLS and the bright lights of Mercedes-Benz Stadium aren’t going away anytime soon and the refs certainly aren’t getting better or more equipped to handle it.
Embrace it? I guess?
Atlanta United Tweet of the Week
They jam Youngbloodz for soccer games round here shawty. pic.twitter.com/Q6w2UJo56G— Papi Ballgame (@Ballgameboss) June 2, 2018
Atlanta United Quote of the Week
“Missed chances are never a cause for concern. You work, you keep trying. When a team misses chances like we have in recent games or like we did tonight, it’s never a reason to worry.” - Gerardo “Tata” Martino
Best XI: 11ish Non-Atlanta United Things That Happened In the League Called MLS or Major League Soccer during this Week in MLS*
*All quotes are totally made up unless otherwise noted but it’s more fun to imagine them being real so do that
The Reds jumped up early on Columbus with a 17th minute penalty and kept piling on with a gorgeous team goal.
And as a chaser, your obligatory Giovinco free kick golazo.
The free kick acted as a statement to the rest of the league that the reigning champs were indeed back. They had walked into Columbus against one of the league’s top teams and run them out of their own building. After a tough stretch of games, these 57 minutes had proven that Toronto is ready to mount a playoff, and maybe even a title run. The sleeping giant had awoken.
“Man, it’s just...it’s crazy how 60 minutes of pure, unadulterated football can turn things around,” an obviously emotional Michael Bradley said. “It’s been so hard lately and me and the team, we’re just glad to see things turn a corner, wait, oh no what’s going on, WHY WOULD I AGREE TO AN INTERVIEW IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GAME?”
We regret to inform you that despite reports to the contrary, Toronto is in no way back.
Sooooo.....soccer games last more than 60 minutes.
“First off, I’d like to thank God for getting me out of Los Angeles,” Gyasi Zardes said postgame. “Second off, where did Michael Bradley go for like 20 minutes and why does he keep blaming this draw on someone named Johann Carolus?”
Ok, sure, they’re down one here but everything is going to be ok. Penalty on the way.
Kljestan with an opportunity to equalize from the spot, but he hits the post pic.twitter.com/rp3tryivIz— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) June 3, 2018
See! Told you everything was going to be ok! NYCFC scored two more times after that. Orlando scored no times after that as they’re beginning their annual Summer of Sadness a little early this year. Fortunately, they’re pushing the art form. The loss is their fourth in a row. Surprisingly, its the first time to the Lions have ever completed this feat.
“We’re not going to let it get us down,” a perplexingly chipper Jason Kreis said. “I always tell my boys to smile through it and we’re gonna keep on smiling. We’re not going to listen to the media or pay attention to headlines. Who are we, Johann Carolus?”
Kreis then flipped the press conference around by running up to each reporter and excitedly asking them what their favorite color was and why is it purple.
Tyrone Mears scored the goal of the week in MLS on Sunday night.
Well, as far as I know, most everyone is still here. Somehow it wasn’t indicative of an imminent rapture. Who would have guessed?
“PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND PRINT IT, JOHANN CAROLUS!” Mears screamed after the goal.
The Minnesota team, so excited by the respect they had earned by scoring one of the goals of the season, left for a congratulatory ice cream party. Predictably, with 80 minutes of regular time still remaining and the opposing team distracted, Kansas City cruised to a 4-1 win.
This is good.
Teal Bunburry and Diego Fagundez both scored as New England took down a suddenly sputtering New York Red Bulls side. Since beating Atlanta United 3-1, the Red Bulls took just one point from Philadelphia and New England. Meanwhile the Revs went toe-to-toe with two the leagues best in four days and took four points.
“I always preferred Monster,” Teal Bunburry said in the locker room post game to a press corps that wasn’t there while waiting for a laugh that would never come.
Wait, what, really, Montreal beat Houston?
Uhh. Apparently, they did.
The Impact entered the game and still own the worst goal differential in the league. They had been shut out in the last four games. Yet they still squeaked by Alberth Elis and one of the league’s best attacks. After beating Chicago and NYCFC, Houston lost in the same week to RSL and Montreal.
“I always preferred Dallas,” Teal Bunburry said post game while everyone stood around and wondered why Teal Bunburry was there.
Speaking of Dallas...
BIG TEX RISES LIKE A PHOENIX FROM THE ASHES WHILE WEARING A TEN GALLON HAT FILLED WITH TEN GALLONS OF LIQUID PRAGMATISM
The last time we bothered to think about Dallas on MAMA we laughed as they blew a late two-goal lead to Vancouver as Kei Kamara scored the equalizer in literally the 100th minute.
It was just a draw though, and since then Dallas has won their last three. Including a 2-1 win over LAFC on Saturday.
Flying well under the radar, Dallas has only lost one game on the year and now sits second in the Western Conference standings.
BIG TEX IS BACK WITH A BRAND NEW SHIRT, A BIGGER HAT AND A BRAND NEW LEASE ON LIFE.
The two-time reigning Western Conference winners are not back. In fact they got outshot 18 to five and didn’t put a single shot on target. It’s getting kind of dire to be honest. I feel bad though and wanted to put that headline there and hope that maybe any Seattle folks reading this would be too busy fighting low vitamin D to read the subtext.
On the flip side of things RSL is rolling.
Of note: @RealSaltLake has held opponents without a shot on goal twice this season. No other MLS team has done it once.— Matt Gaschk (@mattgaschk) June 3, 2018
They’ve won three straight and sit in third place in the west despite a -7 goal differential. They’ve even got awesome kid fans doing awesome kid things.
“We really feel like we’ve established something really positive here. It’s kind of like what Johann Carolus did,” Mike Petke said in his post match press conference.
“I always preferred Guttenberg,” Teal Bunberry shouted from the back of the room.
Chicago beat San Jose 2-1
That’s it. That’s all you need to know about that game.
OHMYGOD ALAN GORDON SCORED AGAIN.
THREE STRAIGHT GAMES!
As Alan Gordon is known for doing, he celebrated in a totally normal way by sharing a totally normal picture on his Instagram and by normal I mean dear God it is not safe for work go look it up, go look it up now, go, go, go so you can wonder with me about who the hell took this picture and how did the conversation to decide to take it go.
“We’re gonna have a couple good beers tonight,” Gordon actually said in an interview on live TV.
Portland and LAG tied 1-1
That’s it. That’s all you need to know about this game.
Not even Teal Bunburry cared enough to show up.
MLS Tweet of the Week
WE DID IT!
Alpharetta Dad Thought of the Week - Sponsored by Jimmy Buffet Charcoal
“Hat tricks don’t contradict laziness or offsides. Probably could have 7-8 if he wasn’t offsides every other possession. Not a fan of players who pout. More about himself than the team.”*
*Most of the time we have to make these up but this one is real, live and out there in the wild somewhere. Majestic.