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ATLUTD Recap: Bookends of Misery

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17 Frida Kahlo quotes to inspire you to turn your pain into beauty

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Toronto FC Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The things that happened in the game that was played

And here we go, the game is starting, the ball is kicked and here we GOOOOOOohhhh boy.

A gift from Darlington Nagbe and company put Toronto up one inside of thirty seconds. Fortunately, Alejandro Pozuelo didn’t see the need to be selfish tonight. At least for the moment.

A hand ball inside the box (in which the aforementioned Pozuelo smacked the ball out of the air to get it away from Pity Martinez) gifted Atlanta a penalty, and delivered Pity his second goal of the season.

Moments later, the Brandon Vazquez hype train inched a little further out of the station when he...**checking**...ruined Laurent Ciman’s entire life. Vazquez glided past the Toronto defender to deliver a low cross that eventually found Julian Gressel.

With Atlanta up 2-1, the Five Stripes implemented their famous possession-based style to suffocate the rest of the game and stay in front the rest of the way Toronto equalized very, very quickly.

Toronto looked a step sharper through the rest of the half but the score stayed tied at two apiece.

Atlanta — and specifically Vazquez — had the best chances to break the deadlock in the second half but Brandon just couldn’t put the ball on frame.

And then ALL GOT DANG HELL BROKE LOOSE.

In the 93rd minute, Richie Laryea “earned” a penalty for Toronto. Pozuelo slowly but surely converted to apparently seal the game.

With a point seemingly evaporated from their grasp, Atlanta threw one more last ditch effort against the wall. A late cross into the box nearly found an Atlanta United player at the back post but sailed wide. BUT WHAT’S THIS? THEY MAY HAVE BLOWN THE FINAL WHISTLE. BUT WAIT. THERE MAY HAVE BEEN A HAND BALL. CAN THEY CHECK IT? OH MAN I THINK THEY CAN STILL CHECK IT. CHECK IT! CHECK IT!

...

THEY’RE CHECKING IT!!! HERE WE GO!

...

IT’S A PENALTY! A PENALTY! AN EYE FOR AN EYE! WE SEE YOUR LATE WEAK PENALTY TORONTO AND WE CALL! YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD KEEP ATLANTA UNITED DOWN? NO WAY. NOT WHEN WE HAVE PLAYERS THAT COST TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO BRING IN. NO. CHANCE. OH, AND HERE COMES ONE NOW TO TIE THIS GAME AND GET US OUR WELL EARNED PO—

oh come on.

A Recap Thought: Brandon Vazquez is...for real? Or maybe at least just better than we (I) thought. Ok, he’s maybe decent.

Despite being quite literally one of ten (10) truly good people in the world, Tata had this weird tick where he would see Brandon Vazquez play soccer and start blinking very quickly and somehow this turned into Tata imagining Vazquez as Arjen Robben and playing him solely on the wing. And while on the wing he looked......really damn slow and ineffective.

In the last month, over the course of two glorified exhibitions and one real match, Vazquez has been a reminder that Tata was only close to perfect. In his short time as a forward in Frank de Boer’s system, Vazquez has not only been useful but, at times, outright dangerous. The move around Ciman tonight, as well as a few moments of near excellence reinforced the thought that Vazquez is, at least, a more viable option than anyone else as a backup for Josef annnnddddd as I’m typing this before the match ends he made a bad touch where he maybe should have scored on break and then pushed another huge chance wide moments later.

Look.

1. Journalism is hard.

2. We don’t need him to be a superstar.

He was good tonight. Despite the two missed opportunities late, he did in fact get into spaces to have those opportunities. A few tweaks here and there and it’s a brace. And he did (kind of) have an assist. There is certainly room for improvement but for the first time since Kenwyne Jones died, Atlanta United may have a second-choice striker that can provide a semblance of a real threat off the bench and can take Josef’s place when in need.

All of this to say:

None of it matters because Frank de Boer carries a voodoo curse that he will never, ever shake.

DSS Man of the Match

Brek Shea.*

Larentowicz Man of the Match (Your unsung hero(es))

This one was a mess. Hard to see the tiny tree sustaining the forest for the trees here. So....I don’t know. I’ll say Brek Shea.**

Tweet of the Night

What’s Next?

Back in the Benz on Saturday for Montreal. Kick is at 6:00 p.m. EST. Canada hate week continues.

*waits patiently

**waiting intensifies