Atlanta United are champions of
the universe world western hemisphere North America after defeating Liga MX champions Club America 3-2 in the second-ever Campeones Cup on Wednesday. A back and forth, enthralling affair saw the Five Stripes take a lead, go behind and come back to become the first MLS side to win this cup. Here are a few quick measured and rational thoughts on a very fun evening of soccer:
- Result aside, let’s just take a minute and appreciate the fantastic display of soccer we were able to watch. Even if the score ended 4-1 to Club America, I was proud of how Atlanta United came out and stuck to their style of play. They were attacking, risk taking and at times breath taking.
- Now, factoring in the win over Liga MX’s best team, while playing an attacking and daring style, it was something to behold. Any team can get lucky. You see it all the time. A team bunkers, gets a goal and grinds out a win. Atlanta went toe to toe with one of the best teams on the continent, playing an attack-minded style, and won the game fair and square. What a time to be alive.
- The depth signings by the front office in the past 12 months cannot be praised enough. Franco Escobar appeared to have tweaked in hamstring and could miss some time, but with Florentin Pogba there as cover, it’s not nearly as worrisome as it might’ve been last season. Pogba is just the beginning when you factor in the likes of Emerson Hyndman, Justin Meram and Dion Pereira. Anyone of those guys are able to step in and not have the overall quality of the side drop off. That’s a true testament to the great work the technical staff has done.
- Does the Josef hop penalty need to go? I think the Josef hop penalty needs to go.
- Pity Martinez was once again a bright spot. Still not completely error free, but it’s clear he’s upped the level of his play in the last few weeks and has done it on a consistent basis. If this is his new normal level of play, Atlanta’s attack is in great shape to close out the season.
- Can we talk about that first goal? Holy smokes. That was a thing of pure beauty. Probably the prototype of what Frank de Boer has wanted all season. From Darlington Nagbe marching through the entire Club America midfield to Dion Pereira’s brilliant chipped pass all the way to Emerson Hyndman’s fantastic finish. It was simply gorgeous.
- All in all, what does this trophy mean? It means that Atlanta United continue to raise the bar by doing things no MLS team has before. That was their mission entering the league and the keep topping themselves despite some road bumps along the way.
- Are Atlanta United the best team in the world? Yes. Do we want Liverpool right now? Bring them on. Name a place and a time.
- Up the dang Five Stripes.