Atlanta United moved into first place in the Eastern conference with a 2-0 away win against the Portland Timbers, the team’s first victory away from home in three months. The Five Stripes continued their fantastic run of form with their new-found attacking style of play to beat the Timbers once again. Here are a few random 2 a.m. thoughts on a refreshing win away from the Benz:
- What more can we say about this turnaround? This match proves that it is legit. They showed they could dominate teams at home while being attack-minded. All the leftover questions about whether or not it could translate away from home are put to bed in this one. They stuck with the high risk, high reward mindset and it worked like a charm once again. Portland, despite their mediocre place in the standings, are a very talented team, especially in the attacking end. For Frank de Boer’s side to come out and go full throttle towards goal and still keep the likes of Brian Fernandez, Diego Valeri and Sebastian Blanco off the scoresheet is highly impressive.
- It feels like the three-headed attacking monster of Josef, Pity and Barco still have some work to do to get on the same page, but it seems to be getting better. Chances were created in this game, it’s just unfortunate that both Pity and Barco can’t seem to find the target when it’s needed. Josef on the other hand, did amazingly well with his one big chance. What a finish.
- Pity’s form continues to be very steady. He wasn’t quite as impactful as he was the previous two matches, but he was still quite good, especially in tracking back when needed. That consistency is very encouraging. He still should’ve won another penalty. Barco on the other hand seems to have lost a bit of the confidence that excited so many earlier in the season. Once either or both of them start finding the back of the net with these chances that are being created, it could be a scary proposition for the rest of MLS.
- The three-man back line of Pogba, Robinson and LGP did their best to bend but not break. Robinson again had a fantastic match, cleaning up any and all mistakes while limiting his personal mishaps to minimal incidents. LGP had a very good outing as well, he was more secure with possession and strong in every tackle. Pogba struggled a bit to keep up with Ebobisse and Fernandez. His distribution out of the back is second to none, but when things break down in the defensive shape, he seems to get lost a lot and is required to play catch-up.
- I don’t often praise or criticize Brad Guzan. He shows up and does his job. Sometimes he misses a save, sometimes he fumbles a ball or two. It comes with the territory. I don’t over-analyze it, because I’m not going to pretend to know the intricacies of goalkeeper. However, you don’t need years of experience to understand that the save he made on Julio Cascante in the second half was something truly special. Add in the fact that he was knocked around all match and Guzan deserves all the praise for this one.
- This could perhaps end up being one of the biggest wins of the season. The confidence gained from the team going on the road and having this type of dominant result could be massive. With just eight MLS matches left, five away from home, you couldn’t have picked a better time to start finding your best form as a team. Here’s to hoping it continues on to Orlando this weekend and beyond.