Atlanta United returned home for the first time in nearly a month and picked up a hard fought 2-1 victory over a surging Montreal Impact. The visitors made it extremely difficult for the Five Stripes with their constant bunkering tactics, but a short-handed lineup mustered up just enough attacking presence to secure the three points. Here are a few thoughts.
These points were earned in the front office
Almost never would I ever attribute a win on the field to people off of it. Mainly it’s the players who usually deserve the credit or blame. But let’s sit back and think about this for a second. It’s this type of match that really separates a good operating club from a bad one. Injuries have hit hard. Your best and most important player is off on international duty. The simple fact is, the depth players needed to step up for this team to have any chance at winning. That’s exactly what they did. Justin Meram was acquired in May from Columbus because he needed a change of scenery. Florentin Pogba was plucked on a free transfer after not playing for months. Brandon Vazquez was brought in on a flier a few years ago. Brek Shea was a interesting offseason free agent signing. Don’t even get me started on possibly the best draft class ever taken.
My point is this. Darren Eales, Carlos Bocanegra, Lucy Rushton and the rest of the behind the scenes staff who put together this roster should feel real good about themselves after a win like this. The depth players stepped up when they were needed and got the job done. That’s what separates a great MLS team from the average.
Love Justin Meram
What a journey it’s been for Justin Meram. He received hatred, vitriol and even death threats in Orlando. He was boo’d by Columbus Crew fans after many years of great service to that club. How good it must’ve felt for him to notch two huge goals and secure full points for the club that believed in him enough to trade for him. This may be the start of a great career in Atlanta. It may be the highlight. Or something in between. Whatever the case, he deserves some love for everything he’s been through. Great stuff, Justin.
Someone please send a tape of this match to our national team’s manager. Both Darlington Nagbe and Miles Robinson showed exactly why they are both international caliber players. Nagbe had possibly his best performance of the season, buzzing around the field, breaking up attacks and starting them. He was doing everything that Wil Trapp can’t do.
Then there’s Miles Robinson. What more can we say? He’s just simply fantastic. I still can’t believe how good he is. There’s not a centerback on the current USMNT roster I would rather have on any team I want to win.