ATLANTA, Ga. - Atlanta United picked up their fourth straight win and fourth-straight clean sheet as the Five Stripes beat Orlando City for the fifth time in seven tries thanks to an early, debut goal from Pity Martinez
The things that happened in the game that was played
Pity Martinez had just been waiting until Orlando to score. That’s all.
The debut goal gave him a chance to wipe off the demons a bit.
“The celebration was just to kind of get rid of the bad energy,” Pity said after the game. “I hadn’t scored in a while.”
In addition to removing some bad energy. It also takes some pressure off the South American Player of the Year. A big goal in a big game will help silence any critics of the early part of Pity’s tenure in Atlanta.
“When you have that amount of money for somebody you know there is pressure because people expect a lot of you,” Frank de Boer said of the Argentinean. “He wants to show what he can do. It’s a relief for him because we always believed it would come but you have to work hard for it and he did and he was rewarded.”
Neither team found the net in the first half after Pity’s goal. However, Orlando had a small handful of opportunities that would have gone great for them if Dom Dwyer could actually finish and if Brad Guzan hadn’t decided to look ten years younger.
The second half saw Tito continue to torch Orlando down the left side. It appeared in the 51st minute that Tito had found Gressel for a massive second goal, BUT...
Despite the lack of a back-breaking goal, Atlanta held on for a 1-0 lead. Orlando found and messed up multiple chances along the way, winning the xG margin 1.74 to 1.09 but failing to score an actual goal. You hate to see it.
A Recap Thought: A few kind of pressing matters
Orlando came out and pressed. No one really expected them too. In the end, Atlanta United got the better of the Lions but the pressure forced mistakes. Mistakes that almost led to goals. Especially in the second half.
Michael Parkhurst mentioned that the team assumed Orlando would sit deeper while Pity Martinez thought that the team got tired in the second half. All of this contributed to a result that, if we’re being honest here on Dirty South Soccer dot com, felt a little lucky.
“Sometimes we were too sloppy and overconfident. We have to realize you have to play with confidence but not make silly mistakes,” Frank de Boer said. “They had two really good chances out of those. Yeah, we didn’t get punished but I’m certain we’re going to be punished when we do it again.”
If they can cut out the dumb mistakes, the team continues to look sharp at the back and decent to good going forward. After four straight wins, four straight clean sheets and players who were struggling slowly but surely coming to life, the team’s confidence is growing.
“The confidence level is very high,” Parkhurst said. “Josef got on the scoreboard a couple of weeks ago. Pity got on the scoreboard today. Tito has been playing very well. Barco before that. Different guys are stepping up every game. Julian a lot of games. Everyone understands their role a little better now and we’re getting into a rhythm. These games are coming fast for us but it’s welcome when you’re on a roll like right now.”
While truthfully we didn’t find out a lot about this team as whole tonight, we can say that:
- Pity jumping onto the scoresheet in style might just be the thing that propels him to the stellar year we’d been hoping for
- The team continues to put zeroes on the board in any way possible and is set to possibly put up even better numbers than a very good defensive team last year
- Orlando literally can not beat Atlanta, which is great, because Orlando is bad.
- Frank de Boer can provide valuable insight into the way his system functions by booming out comparisons to music...
“It’s like music,” de Boer said. “There are small parts and SUDDENLY YOU ACCELERATE AND YOU FEEL THE DANGERS AND EVERYBODY FEELS THE CROWD AND THEY SEE OH, SOMETHING IS HAPPENING.”
DSS Man of the Match
DSS Staff voted for Brad Guzan.
Guzan made a few excellent saves and one otherworldly one. Atlanta was lucky to get away with three points and Guzan did well to make it happen.
Larentowicz Man of the Match (Your unsung hero(es))
Franco Escobar wins DSS’s most coveted award tonight. The way he interchanges with Gressel on the right side is fun to watch and he continues to be key in any pressure ATLUTD applies. After a bad first match back from injury, he’s quietly been one of the team’s most crucial players.
Quote of the Night
Reporter to Justin Meram: “What’s it like on the other side of this rivalry?”
Meram smiling: “A win is a win.”
Tweet of the Night
Atlanta United continues a brutal stretch of games with the longest road trip possible. The Five Stripes head to Vancouver for a Wednesday night matchup. Kick off is set for....Ah geez, 10 p.m. EST, seriously?