Atlanta United returned from the international break and put up a disappointing performance against the Columbus Crew in 3-1 loss at home. It what could be a huge blow to their chances at securing the No. 1 seed, some worrisome trends reared their ugly heads. Here are a few thoughts on a bad loss.
- The Five Stripes were not up for this match. Considering they had two weeks to rest and recuperate from a grueling stretch and to get ready for this match, that’s not a great look. Despite taking a 1-0 lead into halftime, it was undoubtedly a flat performance from start to finish. The attack stagnated and the defensive holes were glaring in the second half.
- People are always going to wonder who to blame, but really this one is on the collective. It’s the coaches jobs to make sure the players are ready and it’s the players’ responsibility to get up for the occasion. It doesn’t seem like either happened.
- It’s been a good season overall if you take into account the two trophies won. Complaining after that would be hypocritical. However, the chances of repeating as MLS Cup champion are slowly slipping away and if more performances like this one and the Philadelphia one keep happening, you can for sure kiss any hope goodbye.
- For as deep as this roster feels talent-wise, something feels off. Sure, Barco and LGP were both out for this match, but the talent levels are still there to win games. But, it just didn’t feel like Atlanta were the dominant team they should be in this one. The disconnect between what Frank de Boer wants and what has made this team successful over the past several month still seems to exist beneath the surface. Perhaps this offseason we’ll see the roster overhauled and Frank given more tools that fit what he’s trying to implement.
- The season isn’t over but you’d be forgiven for worrying about the prospects of a disappointing conclusion to a good campaign at this point. Hopefully this was the wake-up call everyone needed and they figure it out before the playoffs begin.
- Oh yeah. They clinched a playoff spot despite losing. MLS SOCCER, BABY!