Atlanta United Thought of the Week
“The Death Star isn’t finished, but it is operational.”
Atlanta United still isn’t healthy. Or, for increased accuracy, Atlanta United has almost never been healthy. Not fully. There are very few moments where the Five Stripes have been able to play a true first choice 11.
We can go back to an inaguaral year that began with Josef Martinez going down in March and ended with Miguel Almiron entering the playoffs with a bum hamstring and Jeff Larentowicz starting at center back. Somewhere in between, Greg Garza fell over in exhibition game and separated his shoulder.
This year began with our MLS record transfer missing the opening weeks of the season, followed by — in some order — Garza getting hurt (again), Tito Villalba missing extended time, Darlington Nagbe needing a months-long recovery plan, Franco Escobar getting punched in the face (x2), Josef breaking his face (and a finger), Mikey Ambrose out for the long haul and a collection of other smaller maladies. Not to mention any team induced suspensions that may have come along.
That nearly ended Sunday night and, for about 20 minutes, the most talented Atlanta lineup of the year held the floor and tortured Columbus until the Five Stripes had bagged a pair of incredible goals and three points. We finally witnessed Ezequiel Barco and Villalba on the wings with the added edition of the awaited Carlos Carmona replacement/upgrade?, the #thiccfielder Eric Remedi, and holy smokes is that a terrifying crew to go against for 90 minutes. Even scarier is that it’s only going to better.
“It’s important to have [Ezequiel] back. Just like before when we had him and we had Tito (Villalba) on the bench, now to have both those guys back, it’s just a benefit for our team to have guys who are able to come in off the bench and be able to enter a game and make an impact,” Tata Martino said through a translator postgame. “Hopefully we’ll be able to count on guys like (Darlington) Nagbe and (Greg) Garza as well as we enter this final stretch of the season, because the more complete and deep our roster is, the better off we are.”
THAT’S RIGHT Y’ALL. NAGBE AND GARZA ARE (MAYBE) COMING BACK.
It would appear that both of their rehabs are progressing well and we can be hopeful in their arrival by the end of the season. Last night Atlanta brought in Barco, Kevin Kratz and Miles Robinson off the bench. Imagine making that Barco or Gressel, Nagbe or Larentowicz and...well...Kevin Kratz (Contractually obligated!) with Garza back in his starting role.
Y’all can fight in the comments about what the best version of our 11 looks like with Barco back and Nagbe and Garza returning, but when they do come back, Tata will have plenty of great problems figuring it out. Add them into the mix along with Remedi, who so far looks like a more than perfect player for his role and a top-five player in the squad, you have a fully-functioning MLS doomsday device masquerading as a soccer team.
You hate to see them get injured, but I have to commend Garza and Nagbe for getting injured at great times. Stockpiling weapons for the homestretch and playoffs wasn’t the intention but it appears to have worked that way.
Even still, it’s not like Atlanta wasn’t already running over teams. Now there’s a chance they begin ripping the rest of the league limb from limb.
That is, if everyone stays healthy...
J. Sam Jones Thought of the Week
“I was right. Ok, well Tata was, but still, me too.”
Last week I pushed the idea — brought up by Tata — of time-wasting to help close out games. Not a novel idea, but I wanted to see it taken to a more extreme end of the spectrum. A yellow card for time wasting, a couple of Atlanta United players getting comfortable on the Mercedes-Benz turf and three points later, Tata seemed proud and you can expect more of it to come.
“Yeah, I think what we tried to do was take the rhythm out of the game. Once we scored the third goal we tried to break up the rhythm,” Martino said through a translator. “Columbus is a team that because of the nobleness and quality of the opponent, that maybe they didn’t deserve to have the game broken up like that. But it’s something that we weren’t able to do in some of the previous games. In that sense, it was important for us. They are a very quality team.”
Atlanta United Tweet of the Week
.@JosefMartinez17 is 27-70 (.385) on shooting this year.— Gabe Gonzalez (@GabeJGonzalez25) August 20, 2018
Notable NBA players with a lower shooting percentage in 2017-2018 season:
Zach LaVine (.383)
Marcus Smart (.367)
Frank Ntilikina (.364)
Lonzo Ball (.360)@ATLHawks give this man a contract https://t.co/vOqU7C4Z8h
Atlanta United Quote of the Week
“It’s like when you have relations with your lady - you gotta do it with love.” - Josef Martinez on Miguel Almiron’s goal
MLS Tweet of the Week
For 90 minutes, she held a sign that read: "Johnny Russell, it's my 9th birthday!"— Sporting KC (@SportingKC) August 19, 2018
Then, this. pic.twitter.com/GRJB5nGQMX
Alpharetta Dad Thought of the Week - Sponsored by Flip Phones Without All the Unnecessary Complications
“Selfish goal by Villalba. He has to consider the importance of records at that time and lay the ball off for Josef. Who also should have passed it after that. You should have to pass the ball 11 times before you shoot it. It worked for Hoosiers it will work for my team.” - Alpharetta Dad
#TFC looked comfortable after taking the lead in 2nd half, but then dropped points after another Alex Bono mistake. Tonight's game was a representation of his entire season, making some great saves but also too many costly errors.#SJvTOR #TFCLive #MLS pic.twitter.com/dVx99TIpZx— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) August 19, 2018