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 two days removed from a 2-2 draw with Toronto (again), DOESN’T EVERYONE FEEL BETTER.
Atlanta United Thought of the Week
“1-2-3, break somebody’s clavicle!”
Ok. Not really. But I think it is time to get our hands dirty.
Toronto beat us twice. Two moments. Two goals. That’s it. There isn’t a quick fix for that. But we can talk about about little things that may prevent lapses in the future.
Against New England, Dallas and now Toronto, Atlanta United has dropped points and ruined everyone’s night. Mistakes are going to happen. It’s inherent in the sport and will always be especially prominent in a league far from the highest quality in the world (That’s not a knock, I love it because of that.). You can work to limit the opponent from a tactical standpoint, but you can also limit the number of opportunities you have to screw things up.
The match against Seattle may best exemplify this. Seattle’s lack of intention to actually play soccer and instead waste time immediately and lay on the ground for the majority of the game was transparent, infuriating and completely effective at every level. Of any team that has visited the Benz with the sole purpose of muddying the match from the first whistle, Seattle executed the most ruthless version of the strategy to the tune of a 1-1 draw against an Atlanta United team that outperformed them most of the game.
You have 90(ish) minutes to not screw up each match. When you expend time with non-soccer activities, you limit the chances the other team has to do damage. I don’t expect or want Atlanta to go to the extreme Seatlle did, but three minutes of well-designed, non-stoppage-time-enhancing stalling yesterday from Atlanta United and Toronto likely goes home empty handed. On the other end, stalling from TFC meant 22 shots from Atlanta instead of 25. Who knows? Maybe the 25th shot is the one that makes it a 3-1 game.
“What some other teams do — especially when they come here, when they have a favorable result from them — they slow the game down. They have the delays and doing all these things. They have an understanding and they know how to slow a game down. That’s part of why we’ve lost seven points,” Tata Martino said through a translator Saturday night. “By having a throw in you have a delay. A sub, a delay. A goal kick, a delay. That’s things the other teams do and they’re not punished for it. So in the second half when we’re up after 80 minutes, then we see that they’re not being punished for it, then it’s something we should do too.”
Playing against the clock won’t fix everything. Working time will simply help limit the opportunities things have to break. Whatever is restraining Atlanta from doing this in the first place when they have the lead — be it inexperience, a sense of soccer moral superiority or a combination of the two — they may need to shed it quickly. The defense late in games won’t correct itself instantly. A few minutes here and there could be huge down the stretch.
Or they could mean nothing because this team is spiraling and we’re going to finish last in the conference no matter what because we can’t play defense no matter how long the clock runs and the suggestion that we worry about screwing around rather than just playing defense is totally inane in the first place or maybe in fact it’s just a minor suggestion of a supplement to the defense and not meant to be taken too seriously by the blog boy and is possibly just a way to put 500 words around a quote from Tata he found interesting for the #clicks but IDK who know’s man all I know is God hate Atlanta.
Atlanta United Tweet of the Week
Tata when he tries to sub Kratz on in the 75th minute pic.twitter.com/IdYFEjO2Pz— Noah Byers (@noza_byers) August 4, 2018
Atlanta United Quote of the Week
“I think (Chris) Mavinga was probably sick and tired of chasing Miguel (Almirón) around all game. Things got a little chippy in between those two.” - Michael Parkhurst
MLS(ish) Tweet of the Week
Finally, at last, the famed Austin Bold v. Austin Italics feud will be settled on the field, not in a word processor. pic.twitter.com/nYHSjae1nb— Will Parchman (@WillParchman) August 3, 2018
Alpharetta Dad Thought of the Week - Sponsored by Yeti
“MoviePass? More like movie a**.” - Alpharetta Dad
That's a dive and it's becoming annoying that Atlanta gets away with so much at home.— Bobby Warshaw (@bwarshaw14) August 4, 2018