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Three thoughts on Atlanta United’s costly MLS-opening win over Nashville SC

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Winning = Good, Injuries = Bad

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Nashville SC Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United opened their 2020 MLS campaign with a 2-1 win over Nashville SC in their inaugural match at Nissan Stadium. This is the first time in the club’s history that they’ve opened their league season with three points after losing to the Red Bulls, Dynamo and D.C. United in consecutive seasons. While it’s always great to get a win, this one may have come at a cost with two very important players leaving early due to injury. Here are some thoughts on a bittersweet opening night win.

  • If I could sum up this whole performance in one small paragraph it would be a giant shrug emoji. Winning is always good. Ezequiel Barco’s goal was great to see. Him adding some final product to his game is a sight for sore eyes. Nashville’s goal was half bad luck and half poor set piece defending. It happens. Nothing really to dissect there other than to keep practicing those situations. As for Emerson Hyndman’s winner, it was quite a weird scenario. He deserves a ton of credit for smashing his shot into the net. Obviously the argument will always be for each team to play to the whistle, but any team could’ve befell the same fate that Nashville did after seeing the lineswoman’s flag incorrectly go up. Other than that, Atlanta’s 0.24 Expected Goals on the night proves there wasn’t much else to highlight performance wise. It wasn’t pretty but it got the job done.
  • Losing Franco Escobar at half time hurt the team’s momentum in the match. Losing Josef Martinez could do the same for the season going forward. It’s important to note that no one knows the severity of either injury yet. However, early signs indicate Josef could be out of action at least for the immediate future, if not longer. Should he miss extended time, it would throw a huge wrench into the team’s plans. All of the preseason work focusing on a new formation linking Josef to Barco and Pity would be for naught. With Adam Jahn the only true striker remaining on the roster, the team might have to go out into the market and find one to help carry the attacking load. Hopefully this scare is just that, a scare and not something serious that would require such line of thinking and planning. All we can do is wait and see...
  • Lastly, I’d just like to give a huge kudos to all the Atlanta fans who made the trip to Nashville. The sea of Red and Black on TV along with the loud chants and singing was undeniable. Having that type of presence at an away game is something special. Well done to all those heroes who were there.