In the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal, Monterrey rolled over Atlanta United in an impressive 3-0 home win for one of the continent’s best teams.
The things that happened in the game that was played
Atlanta escaped in the first half down just one goal. It could have been a lot worse. Rayados failed to capitalize on multiple big chances — including a headed free kick that ricocheted off the cross bar — and the Five Stripes failed to move the ball with 25 yards of the goal. The lone goal of the half came when Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez was deemed to have brought down a Monterrey player in the box while chasing him from behind.
Atlanta looked a little more comfortable going forward in the second half but it was more of the same in defense.
Rayados broke through for two more goals late in the game.
A Recap Thought: Ain’t been nothing good.
Well. For someone who came in needing a good start to win over a fan base, Frank de Boer has had nearly the opposite. I’m not making a definitive statement of whether or not he’s a bad coach, or whether this team will continue to struggle. I’m saying that as someone who’s #brand coming in had deteriorated from four-time Eredivisie winner and rising star to Italian and English punch-line, FdB needed a good start. Not a great start — Monterrey is the most talented team on the continent and winning every game through tonight would have been absurd — but at least a start that showed this team had a clear direction and understanding of how de Boer’s system should function. We haven’t seen it yet. That’s not to say we won’t eventually see it, but objectively, through these first games, we haven’t seen it.
With the hiring of FdB itself earning mixed reviews, the chance for things to snowball and confirmation biases to light flames within the fan base were raised. If a man who has famously struggled in his first few games in charge at multiple stops stumbled out of the gate in Atlanta then it would confirm fears both rational and not. Well guess what? He’s struggling. And now in the midst of attempting to win over a new set of players in a new location, he’s got to wade through a growing vocal minority frustrated with his tactics and squad rotation. For a coach who may be undergoing the same struggles Henry Winkler’s character did in The Waterboy, all you can do right now as a fan is hope those struggles don’t compound. That things don’t spiral.
It’s early. Obviously. But patience, like soccer, is hard. If the struggles continue for de Boer, he’ll have to make a choice to stay the course with the current system and hope that the roster begins to fit within it, or begin making larger tweaks. I don’t know what the correct answer will be if that time comes. If either way works, we’ll applaud him for either sticking to his guns or calculating the necessary changes. If they fail, he’ll get torched. But in this moment, during Frank’s No Good Horrible Very Bad Week, he’s certainly got an uphill battle.
No one that should be taken seriously is saying #deBoerOut. But in my opinion it’s fair to say that most of what we’ve seen so far ain’t been nothing good.
DSS Man of the Match
No idea. Pity picked up a lot of fouls I guess.
Larentowicz Man of the Match - (Your unsung hero(es))
**shrugs so hard my shoulders fall off**
Tweet of the Night
Full time. #ATLUTD gets outplayed in Monterrey. I’m not sure what the team’s identity is after four games. I’m don’t think the players know either.— Felipe Cardenas (@FelipeCar) March 7, 2019
Atlanta plays Cincy on Sunday at The Benz. Rayados come for the home leg of this tie on Wednesday in Atlanta.