Atlanta United extended its winless streak to five on Saturday night with a 4-2 loss to Nashville SC. The Five Stripes trailed in the very first minute and never really looked a threat to take points from the match. While the result and overall performance was maybe as poor as we’ve ever seen, there were one or two positives to take away. Here are some random thoughts on the match with absolutely no structure to them at all.
- Hey, it’s me again. Atlanta United lost and for the first time all season, I really didn’t feel anything. I’ve achieved a very nice level of numbness and apathy towards this season. This is good news as it should allow me to share some honest thoughts without being too emotional. I hope you can get to this level soon, because it’s once again looking like it’s going to be one hell of a rocky road towards 2021.
- Is there really any point in talking about the negatives anymore? We all know them. The defense has fallen to pieces. I’m not one to make excuses but I think we can chalk up some of the poor mistakes to fatigue. Players like Miles Robinson specifically are a proven commodity. They just don’t forget how to defend suddenly. But it’s clear that the back four, especially on the right side, aren’t playing up to their standard. Robinson and Franco Escobar look lost and out on their feet. With the midfield disjointed and constantly turning the ball over, it doesn’t help matters for them.
- Now, on to the positive(s). George freakin’ Bello, folks. The kid is good. Not only was he the best defender for the team on the night (low bar, I know), but he notched his first goal of the season and second of his career. Not only was his finish for the team’s second goal of the night a thing of beauty, the whole sequence was probably the best the attack has looked all year. From the build-up play to the finish, it looked like a competent attacking side. No matter how bad the team looked on the night, this moment is something to look brightly on. Bello was clearly the Man of the Match for Atlanta, and really he’s been the Man of the Season. No matter how bad things get in 2020, at least we’re getting to see George Bello fulfill his promise in real time.
Look at the lefty— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) September 13, 2020
Bello gets one back for the 5-Stripes! pic.twitter.com/9clyzNpP9G
- I would like to give Stephen Glass a little bit of credit and maybe a bit of a defense. I asked Glass about Bello’s goal after the match, as I thought it finally represented the type of soccer he wants to establish. Instead of talking up the goal, he simply laid into the team, himself and the performance by saying it was possibly the worst performance in the club’s history. I respect the brutal honesty from the interim manager. In MLS especially, people are too quick to rely on excuses and outside forces as reasons for bad results. It’s refreshing to hear someone come out and take full responsibility. He could’ve easily blamed the crowded fixture list, all of the traveling, or the fatigue, but he made it known that the performance was simply bad and not good enough.
Glass: "Probably one of the worst performances the club has seen." #ATLUTD— Joe Patrick (@japatrick200) September 13, 2020
- Say what you will about Stephen Glass, but make no mistake. He was handed a rotten apple and asked to bake a pie. We had some optimism after Frank de Boer’s departure, but it’s clear that the manager and tactics are only a fraction of the problem. Glass is working hard during the club’s roughest patch in its existence. He undoubtedly won’t be getting the full-time job, but he shouldn’t be cast away or dismissed as a bad coach just because he couldn’t plug holes in the Titanic after the iceberg of an offseason roster overhaul already hit.
- Carlos Bocanegra told the FOX Sports South crew that the club could possibly add some names to the roster in the coming week. No specifics were given only that the move(s) could “change the dynamic” of the club. There are rumors linking Atlanta with Lanus midfielder Marcelino Moreno. Perhaps he is the name or one of the names on Bocanegra’s mind. No matter who is brought in this season, it seems highly unlikely to transform this side into one that can contend for a trophy. However, it would be nice to see whoever is brought in make an impact to help us see the light at the end of the tunnel. Positive changes in performances, both individually and collectively, is what we realistically have to look forward to in 2020.