There’s an old joke. I’m going to share it with you.
How do you know if a person has run a marathon?
Don’t worry they’ll tell you.
Because I ran a marathon. Technically, I’ve ran two and a 10k in the last two weeks, but whose counting?
I say this because the MLS season is a lot like a marathon. There are cliches everywhere, the teams that start out too fast end up with bleeding teats and covered in their own feces and in Philadelphia, and you think its a good idea even though you know better and when people ask you how it went you make something up about pushing through when really you want to say - it’s basically too painful to enjoy and even the people who win are mostly glad that it’s over at the end.
This was the Atlanta United experience in Nashville on Saturday night. It was looking like a magical evening. Ezequiel Barco is good actually and scored early and the team looked like it would dominate. But then the home team started threatening kinda... a little bit... sorta. It paid off for them when Wally Zimmerman managed to do enough to knock down a free kick and poke it past Brad Guzan. Everything seemed mostly OK after that and then the MLS refs did some MLS ref stuff and did or didn’t call someone offside and Emerson Hyndman scored one of the the best goals that you’d home to see an American player put home.
Along the way there were injuries - Franco Escobar went down and a guy on a four day contract did a fairly good job in his place. It was a big night for Lawrence Wyke making his debut with the first team and you can’t really expect more out of him than what he did.
As Brad Guzan said after the game, it’s a big loss for Atlanta United, but Josef Martinez will be back and as good as ever in a year give or take. Here’s more from the veteran keeper on the injuries: “Part of team sports isn’t it? Next guy up, step up and do a job. Laurence (Wyke) came on, was fantastic. Adam (Jahn) came on, was fantastic. You know, it is what it is. That’s not our job to worry about. Our job is, whoever gets called upon to step on the field, is to make sure that one they’re ready and two they perform.”
While Nashville did lose the game, they do get the moral victory of having the player with the best MLS Audi Index Marketing Stat or Whatever This Is on the field...
I DID HAVE ONE MORE PUN LEFT.
So what will Atlanta United do... YOU CAN’T HAVE A PB&J WITHOUT THE J. There’s
Tito Villalba who played striker in 2017 when Josef missed time or even Julian Gressel who played there in college because right now the options include Pity as a false 9 or Adam Jahn...
It’s a problem that seems pretty unsolvable.
The team will next take on Brandon Vazquez and FC Cincinnati as it works its way though the soft underbelly of MLS to begin 2020.