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Recap: Atlanta United Drops First Leg of CCL Tie with C.S. Herediano, 3-1

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Can we just skip the first game every year?

MLS: Atlanta United FC-Press Conference Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In Atlanta United’s first CONCACAF Champions League game in club history and the first game of Frank de Boer’s tenure, things went very, very poorly.

The Five Stripes were overrun by C.S. Herediano in a 3-1, first-leg loss.

The things that happened in the game that was played

It did not start well.

It did not immediately get better.

Atlanta United spent the entirety of the first half looking, quite frankly, discombobulated AF. The Five/Nine Stripes gifted Herediano the opening two goals of the tie and then literally couldn’t get out of their own damn way.

Fortunately, a little luck by way of a deflected Julian Gressel shot kept things close heading into the break.

To keep more in theme with the night, Gressel would make up for that accidental lapse of success in the 50th minute.

Both teams scraped together a few chances the rest of the way, but neither could find the back of the net.

A Recap Thought: “Growing Pains” but in Dutch

There are better tacticians at DSS who will absolutely put out more insightful content on this later in the week (I see you Josh Bagriansky) but you don’t have to have written a dissertation on “Inverting the Pyramid” to recognize that everything was ugly. The back line looked out of sorts, the front three kept ramming head first into the teeth of the Herediano defense, and I am genuinely unsure anyone not named Julian Gressel played 4 part of the 3-4-3.

Tiotal Football summed it up well.

We have a saying at DSS: “Soccer is hard.” The hardness is compounded when you’re trying to implement new ideas in a new system while plugging in new players. It’s going to be a while before everyone looks comfortable (except for Frank de Boer, who constantly looks like he’s seeing the physical representation of imminent death in front of him, and who, consequently, will never look comfortable) under FdB. It’s obviously early. It’s obviously a major challenge to go to Costa Rica and get CONCACAF’d. Things obviously didn’t start well last year and we saw how that ended up. All these things are obvious, but they’re still good to hear. Don’t panic. But do keep an eye on a few of the uglier trends we saw tonight and pray they get better.

Soccer is hard. The growing pains will be real.

DSS Man of the Match

Idk. Gressel scored. I guess him.

Larentowicz Man of the Match - (Your unsung hero(es))

These dudes dutifully carrying off Herediano player after Herediano player on stretchers and miraculously bringing them back to life on the sideline.

Tweet of the Night

What’s Next?

Atlanta United at least takes an away goal to Fifth/Third Bank Stadium next Thursday. A 2-0 win gets the job done. There are also a whole bunch of negative outcomes that are easier to explain in chart form. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. in Kennesaw.