Atlanta United was unable to build on their first win of the season, suffering another disappointing result at the hands of FC Dallas, 2-1, in Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday. There were some bad things that happened, but also some good. Let’s talk about it.
Not Mad. Just Disappointed.
Losing sucks. There’s no way around it. And as much as I hate excuses, there’s no way around the fact that Atlanta United played well for the majority of this match. They created many chances but were constantly frustrated by a mixture of Jesse Gonzalez standing on his proverbial head and some poor finishing. We aren’t privy to official Opta xG numbers for matches right after, but if I had to guess, Atlanta’s number would look pretty darn good.
Advanced analytics favoring Atlanta won’t help most fans sleep any better. Another result still went against the team and any momentum from last weekend’s promising performance in New England has all but evaporated.
What Went Right
Let’s focus on the positives that we can take away from this match. Ezequiel Barco was once again very good. He struck the woodwork a couple of times and drew a handful of dangerous free kicks thanks to his nifty dribbling around the box. He was again the team’s best performer on the day.
Barco seems to have not only improved his overall play but has turned the corner to consistency. If there’s any optimism to be gained from this loss, it’s certainly that. Now we just need Josef Martinez and Pity Martinez to find their form.
What Went Wrong
This may be a shocker, but I’m not going to blame Frank de Boer for this one. He put out a strong lineup and made some okay substitutions. The team created chances. He can’t put the ball in the net himself.
Putting out an attack-minded lineup at home is perfectly normal and something I applaud. However, it’s always going to leave you susceptible to the counter-attack. FC Dallas had the perfect game plan. Something that looked reminiscent of Ben Olsen bunkering and countering Tata Martino to death in 2017 (I still have nightmares). Defending the counter is something that will need to be worked on.
Soccer Just Be That Way Sometimes
Soccer is the greatest sport on the face of the earth. Soccer can also be extremely frustrating sometimes. This match was one of those matches that you just have to forget about. The team played well but it didn’t go their way. There will be much better days ahead if they keep creating the volume of chances they have the past two matches. Keep your heads up.