Hey y’all. Atlanta United drew 1-1 with Inter Miami last night in what was yet another terrible overall performance for about 80 minutes until all hell broke loose in the final 10 that saw Brek Shea and Jake Mulraney exchange goals. As these matches continue to feel like Bill Murray waking up on February 2nd and smashing his alarm clock, I figured I’d switch up my post-match column format a little bit and focus on two players who deserve praise after this match. Here we go.
The demise of Miles Robinson has been greatly exaggerated. The Syracuse alum was as dominant as he’s ever been for the Five Stripes, completely frustrating Gonzalo Higuain for most of the night and neutralizing the former Juventus striker. Not only is Miles’ one vs. one defending as good as ever, but he’s starting to add some little things to his game such as tenacity and grit. This season has been the polar opposite of what Miles Robinson has known as an Atlanta United player since being drafted in 2017. If this hellacious experience gives him the tools to further himself as a player for the long-term, then something useful has come out of this dreadful season.
Miles had some struggles during the middle portion of the season with the constantly changing lineup and games every three or four days piling up. However, he’s finally broken out of his slump the past several matches and looks like the reliable, steady and dominating center back that was the MLS Defender of the Year runner-up in 2019.
Along with Franco Escobar and Anton Walkes, the center back corps has been the biggest reason Atlanta still has a chance at making the expanded postseason in MLS in 2020. That group will need to continue to put up MLS Best XI-level performances if this team has any chance of finishing above the playoff line.
The second spotlight goes to Jurgen Damm for coming into the match and making an impact with his pace. This is exactly what the Mexico international was brought into the fold. His shift off the bench in this match is the prototypical Damm performance. He showed off his dynamic pace and ability to create something out of nothing while also having some questionable touches in the final third. Welcome to the Jurgen Damm experience.
This glimpse is good to see and is hopefully a sign of things to come. While Damm’s effectiveness in the current Atlanta United set-up may be minimal, his impact should be magnified once he’s surrounded by more talented players. There’s always room for someone who can break open a game with pace on a high-caliber roster. Hopefully 2021 proves that he’ll be a valuable addition to a talented squad.