Atlanta United returned home on Wednesday and broke their two-game losing streak with a 3-0 win over Minnesota United. A tight battle opened up very late and allowed the Five Stripes and Josef Martinez to put the match to bed in style. Here are few thoughts on a ‘fine’ performance.
Beauty And The Beholder And All That Stuff
I don’t want to be pessimistic after a 3-0 win. This isn’t me being pessimistic. Just honest. The first 85 minutes of this match were pretty boring. Up until that point, believe it or not, Minnesota United had a higher xG than Atlanta United did. Did it feel like it from watching the game? Not really, but it just goes to prove how little was actually created through the majority of the match.
A 3-0 win is great and I definitely shouldn’t be complaining. This is more explaining that the scoreline was a bit flattering. Finally at the end of the match, the Loons released the emergency break on their bus and finally space opened. Josef Martinez took advantage with two well-taken goals.
I guess what I’m saying is, this wasn’t a great performance and it wasn’t a bad one. It was fine. Just fine. Thanks for reading my expert analysis. (But seriously, there’s just not much to say other than it was fine)
Frank de Boer has found himself a player. Once again, Dion Pereira got the start with Tito Villalba injured. Personally, I wasn’t too impressed with the youngster’s full debut against Real Salt Lake. But he was fantastic in his second chance with the first-choice squad. He was extremely active, dribbling past defenders, putting service into the box (some good, some not so good) and making things happen on a consistent basis.
While it’s unlikely he’ll have a Miles Robinson-esque ascendance into guaranteed starter status, he’s taken his opportunity and proven a point. Wingers who can get to the endline and make things happen are always going to get minutes. He’s certainly worked his way up the playing time depth chart. Even when Tito and Ezequiel Barco return, he should get his chances.
A Whole Different Game
Quite frankly, we’re pretty lucky to not be talking about a different type of game. Miles Robinson probably would’ve been sent off by several MLS referees for his wild challenge on Rasmus Schuller. The ferocity of the tackle that sent the midfielder flying looked worrisome in real time. I’m quite sure there are a handful of referees who would’ve reached for the red card. Had that happened, this match would’ve turned on its head and who knows how the result would’ve been affected.
Robinson has been unbelievable all season long as is evident by his call-up to the U.S. national team. These types of situations come with the territory for center backs. It’s easy for someone to say he should be more careful, but the last thing you want is a confident defender to become hesitant. He took a risk and thankfully got away with it.
To his credit, a few minutes after, Miles did a great job of keeping his head when Ike Opara tried to goat him into getting a second yellow card by pushing him in the head.
Bonus Thought: Brad Guzan is the real Wonderwall, am I right? See y’all on Saturday.