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Prekrap - Atlanta United vs. NYRB: Yeah, well Atlanta probably wouldn’t beat a literary magazine either

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ABC. “A”, always. “B”, be. “C”, closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING.

New York Red Bulls v Atlanta United FC : MLS Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

Atlanta United is coming off of a brutal 5-1 loss to the Chicago Fire, it was an absolute atrocity of a soccer game and a level of carnage seldom seen anymore. When reached for comment the ghost of Al Capone called it the most gruesome act of violence he had ever witnessed. That was definitely an ugly game for Atlanta, but give the Fire credit, no doubt they did what they did in the game on purpose and will do it again in their next match and not just get 10 points to finish the season.

The Fire are a bad team. They have no identity and beat Atlanta United like they were the New England Revolution. This isn’t really a - “well, Chicago can do that to anyone on their day and soccer is a game and that’s how it goes” situation. When I write these things I have no idea how the game will actually play out, but an extreme anomaly like this followed a big case of the Concacafs in Toronto and this is seeming less like the forces of randomness exerting themselves on the outcome of Atlanta United matches and more like something that the team needs to figure out and fix. There are about 100 games in the next three and a half weeks, so time is short and if a fix doesn’t come soon Atlanta is going to finish like 5th in the conference like the Portland Timbers did last year.

Anyway, the team gets to play Tom Berenger and NYRB this week so it won’t get any easier.

Chris Armas is blowing it

In a way, Atlanta United and NYRB are having similar seasons, it’s very weird and unsettling the way their fates are intertwined and I swear if NYRB finishing above Atlanta in the table every year becomes “a thing” I’m going to have to reconsider my ironic support of Everton. After a dominant season with 62 goals scored and only 32 allowed, Chris Armas blew it in the playoffs and has continued that form in the encore this year. He is not as good tactically as his predecessor, the team went through an early stretch where they had trouble scoring, nobody has been able to replace a player who left on a big transfer, and their newish fancy designated player is not playing very well. The similarities are uncanny.

I realize that this is the big rivalry game, but familiarity breeds contempt so if Atlanta United and NYRB are the same team, is Frank de Boer actually Chris Armas? Consider these facts:

  • Both played midfield
  • Both followed coaches who went onto bigger and better jobs
  • Both had long careers with their national teams
  • Both have blown it in one way or another

Just look at the two of them:

Armas:

de Boer:

Wait, have you ever seen the two of them in the same room at the same time?

COMPUTER ENHANCE:

Yep, same guy.

Anyway, the Red Bulls just got rocked by the Houston Dynamo 4-0. They also got a red card but it didn’t come until the 83rd minute and by then they were already on their way to getting rocked. Luckily, they got a second red card so both Kaku and Michael Murrillo will be gone for NYRB. Add to it that centerback Aaron Long is with the national team and it’s likely that this will look more like a NYRBII lineup than a first choice set up. Given that Grayson Allen Brian White is banging goals for the team at striker, that probably won’t matter too much as the team has been able to collectively not blow it despite Chris Armas’ best efforts.

COFFEE IS FOR CLOSERS

Frank has been giving lots of talks this week. First he had to explain to Andrew Carleton that his quarterly earnings reports are down for the 10th straight time and that it’s time to turn things around.

Then he gave the same speech to the team apparently:

It probably went absolutely nothing like this:

Yeah, the game wasn’t great and all of those little problems that we’d seen over the winning streak that brought up questions I’d ask about being frauds were answered. Luckily it happened all in one game so the team didn’t get exposed leading to a long losing streak, but that loss was as memorable as it was devastating, historical even. While the red card to Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez, an annual occurrence that was probably a long time coming and should serve to wake him out of the uneven performances he’s been having, was bad, the entire team capitulated pitifully.

Here’s what FdB actually said according to the team’s quote sheet:

I said after the game, ‘okay, remember this feeling. You don’t want to feel it again.’ That embarrassment and shame that you feel. You want to avoid it. And you’ll probably have that once in your career and hopefully it’s only once. The good thing is it’s only three points, but if you’re not already thinking about Red Bulls today then it can be more points. So we have to put it aside but remember this feeling. But remember also the good feeling that we experience and that feels much better. And that always starts with hard work and being focused from the first second.

Luckily, Atlanta plays much better at home, the Red Bulls are missing three of their best players and have a Duke graduate playing striker. With LGP out, the defense might be more solid given some of his, at times, iffy play this year. This should be a wake-up call for the whole team and if Josef Martinez and Ezequiel Barco can play, the confidence and skill that they give the team will be a huge asset. That will be especially true as Pity is still.... STILL... struggling to settle into MLS... or something.

Somehow, if Atlanta wins this game and some other things happen in MLS too, the team can end up as high as second in the East... because MLS I guess?

At least it wasn’t measles, snakebite, exhaustion, typhoid, cholera, dysentery, drowning, or accidental gunshot

Welcome to my funeral, thanks for coming, it really means a lot that you could make it. Oh, you hadn’t heard? Well, here’s what happened:

What an absolute joyous month of soccer it has been. The Gold Cup, the Copa America, the African Cup of Nations and of course, ruling them all - the Women’s World Cup. Between all that and Atlanta United and the NC Courage, it’s been a hell of a time. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, but after I die from watching three international finals and whatever happens in the Atlanta United match, I will probably need some B-12 shots and a bunch of those prepackaged meals that Tom Brady sells that don’t have nightshade in them but make you good at football somehow. In any case for those of you who follow us here and perhaps take a look at Stars and Stripes FC every now and then, thanks!

First prize is a Cadallic, second prize is a set of steak knives, third prize is YOU’RE FIRED

Yep, you guessed it, I have no earthly idea how this one is going to play out. Either Atlanta United works its leads and closes the leads they’re given, or they hit the bricks. I do know that the teams don’t like each other and that with all the red cards and goals these teams saw last weekend, each will want to make a strong statement that they are not in fact frauds who are blowing it - we’ll see if Atlanta is that team on Sunday.