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Winners and Losers: MLS is Back Edition

Atlanta United played a soccer game

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Atlanta United FC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Winners and Losers. Here we discuss the Winners and Losers from Atlanta United’s most recent match and provide surface level analysis.


New York Red Bulls

With one very important exception, the New York Red Bulls have always had Atlanta United’s number, and Atlanta’s first game in the MLS is Back tournament was no exception. Another 1-0 loss to Atlanta’s biggest rivals seems pretty on brand for 2020, unfortunately.

Brad Guzan

Guzan was Atlanta’s man of the match, in my humble opinion. Atlanta’s veteran goalkeeper kept Atlanta in the game on multiple occasions.

George Bello

Bello, Atlanta’s most promising homegrown player, was Atlanta’s most threatening attacking player for large portions of the match. He nearly got his second career MLS goal but unfortunately smashed the ball against the cross bar in the 40th minute. Considering how unlucky he’s been in the infancy of his professional career, it was great to see him start for the team and be such a threat going forward.

David Jensen

Jensen stopped newly acquired striker Adam Jahn from scavenging a point for Atlanta United at the death. In a game that saw Jensen not called upon very often, he did well in the end to secure the three points.


A special shoutout to Jackson Conway, who scored a fantastic goal for Atlanta United’s USL team last night.


Atlanta’s backline

Atlanta played with a back three/back five, depending on how you look at it. The center backs of Franco Escobar, Miles Robinson and Fernando Meza is probably Atlanta’s strongest defensive line when playing with a back three/five, but it was not a good night in the back. For the only goal of the match, Escobar was caught out of position in the other half (which is not where a center back should be in that particular situation). That forced Robinson and Meza to shift over to the right to fill the space left empty by Escobar, and NYRB found a gap in between Meza and Bello, who hadn’t come back to help defend. Throughout the match, Atlanta concede a few chances that required heroics by Guzan. No bueno.

Atlanta’s Positioning

As addressed already by The Founder, Rob Usry, Atlanta’s shape and the players’ positions within that shape were often unclear. I had trouble figuring out who was playing where and the role certain players were supposed to be performing. This mostly pertains to Manuel Castro, Mattheus Rosetto, and Pity. In a world without Josef Martinez, Atlanta will inevitably look different going forward, but Frank de Boer needs to figure out what that’s going to look like.

Manuel Castro

In his first match for Atlanta, Castro... Well, he could have gotten at least one goal. Probably two. I don’t want to give him too much grief since he’s on the field and I'm writing this up, but you can't help but feel he should have gotten on the scoresheet. And that’s all I’ll say on the matter.

Winning Tweets of the night

(I just decided to do this so next time I’ll keep on eye out for the best tweets from Atlanta United Twitter.)