We have to talk about this match. We, Dirty South Soccer, have to talk about this match. Like, we will get in trouble if we don’t, so that’s what this is.
Atlanta United’s 3-1 win over the Charleston Battery Thursday night was uninspiring and lifeless, literally and figuratively considering that zero fans were allowed to enter the venue.
But it wasn’t just the vibe. Atlanta United simply looked like a team that was off of training all last week and spent 12 hours sitting on a bus the last couple of days. Not a lot of movement, not a lot of spark. What did we learn from the game?
The pitch at Fifth Third Bank Stadium is a mess. I mean, it looks beautiful, but it plays like shit. And to quote Frank de Boer, what matters more? It’s a shame, too, because other than that, it’s a great venue for a game. It’s certainly not the reason this match was so close, but it does sterilize the game as players can’t make explosive cuts.
Oh, and don’t take my word for it...
Yes.— Tyler Ruthven (@Truthven) June 13, 2019
Romario Williams probably isn’t a starter for ____ amount of MLS teams. I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I’ve heard the refrain that Williams would start for this team or that team. If the Jamaican’s lack of appearances during a congested regular season schedule isn’t evidence enough of his shortcomings, this match did him no favors. To be fair, there are many factors outside of a striker’s control that affects his or her ability to control a match, but with the creative players around him in Thursday’s game, I think all of us would’ve liked to have seen more.
Miles Robinson is still good. The best player on the pitch, as he’s tended to be this season. A thoroughly professional performance, and he was always quick to react to danger. He was one of the few players that didn’t look like he was taking the opposition lightly.
Charleston bunkered, and it makes for a frustrating game. Yeah, we’ve been through this rigamarole before.
How will Charleston approach the 2nd half? They've already shown us - park the friggin bus. They played with all ten behind the ball for most of the half, especially after taking the lead. pic.twitter.com/ZxQHiPPpla— Josh Bagriansky (@JoshB914) June 13, 2019
Of course, you can’t blame them. It’s an effective tactic and thanks to the empty stadium, the Battery players were extremely well organized and managed with lots of communication both among teammates and from the coaches on the sideline.
Atlanta got the job done. Listen, these things happen in domestic cups all over the world. The bigger team with more quality has more room for error and often doesn’t have to play even close to their best game to force their way through via blunt force. That’s what happened here. Hopefully they’ll be better when they travel to COlumbus for the next round, but I doubt it.