Frank de Boer is a dad. You know how I know?
Ok, you’re right. A quick google search does in fact show that he has three daughters.
But do you know how else I know? Frank de Boer is a master of the Dad Joke.
After the 3-0 win in Kansas City, fellow dad Doug Roberson of the AJC asked FdB about what the Five Stripes do once Barco heads off to the FIFA U-20 World Cup with Argentina. Watch a Dutch Master at work as De Boer starts subtly at first, as if he’s Atlanta United pinging the ball around, slowly building the attack through possession, only to spring a surprise Dad Joke on us once we’ve been lulled into complacency:
Yeah, it’s a pity (!!!!) that [Barco] will leave because, okay, last year he struggled sometimes and now you really see what he’s capable of. He’s getting strong, you see in one against ones, he’s protecting the ball well, making good decisions. It’s bad for us because you want one of your best players in form, you want to keep of course. Others have to stand up in that moment, I have confidence in all the other ones. It’s a pity that he’s not here, but we have another Pity (Martinez) so he has to make the difference. (EMPHASIS ALL MINE, BABY)
If you listen to the audio, there’s a few stifled giggles in the background (not from Doug though, which is disappointing). This is exactly the type of reaction a master Dad Joke teller like FdB seeks.
He then does what any dad would and then uses a “but seriously” moment to help everyone transition away from this embarrassing moment:
You cannot expect that suddenly [Pity] will play his best, it’s step-by-step and he’s getting the rhythm of MLS and the confidence to get back and he show already some highlights that this is the Pity that we want. He’s coming there so hopefully on Wednesday against Toronto it’s another step forward.
Grudgingly, like any words of wisdom from a father, you come to accept it despite not admitting as much to his face, but only after looking closely at the facts.
Looking at the stats, Pity’s 86.2% pass completion rate and 5 shots were well above the 65.1% and 2 shots he had last week against Colorado, though he failed to score, get an assist or even put a shot on goal in either match. Not a bad showing, though not a Best Player in South America showing either.
Pity will have to keep improving to match the kind of production we saw last night from Barco, who put together a Player of the Week candidate performance, with a goal, an assist, a 84.9% pass completion, 3 shots on target, 5 key passes, and 4 dribbles.
However, I have faith Pity Martinez step it up in Barco’s absence. But it would be a really pity if he didn’t.