I wasn’t going to write anything after Atlanta United’s latest loss against Inter Miami. What really is there to say that hasn’t already been said? With just one win in their last 10 matches, it’s abundantly clear that 2020 is a lost cause. I know this. You know this. The players know this. Everyone knows this deep down inside.
It’s no one’s fault currently. We all want to play the blame game, but in reality this club is stuck. There is no formation, no combination of players or tactics that is turning this season around. No major signing is going to coming in and magically changing anything either.
Until the club conclude their search for a permanent manager it cannot expect to move forward and begin repairing itself. Like any loved one who has no hope of saving, all you can do is make them as comfortable as possible. It’s clear that things are beginning to turn toxic around the community. Bickering, finger-pointing, and just downright vitriol is beginning to surface and it’s very disappointing.
So, what can Atlanta United do in the short term to make us all more comfortable as 2020 slips into the dark abyss?
Two major things would be to start being honest with themselves and the fans. No more chest-beating bravado of pretending that this year is anything other than the train wreck that it is. The messages of “win now” from the Front Office or “we’re still in a playoff spot” from the interim coach despite having three total wins on the season, need to disappear. Instead we need honesty and transparency.
The decision makers have already admitted that things are bad by selling a top player and parting ways with the manager. There’s no need to complicate things with mixed messages just to save face. It is becoming unhealthy for everyone who watches this club day in and day out.
Midweek rematch. Our legacy will prevail. pic.twitter.com/cH6Ft5qNxR— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) September 9, 2020
Instead, give us the truth. Keep in touch with your fans and give it to us straight. Here’s what we’re working on. Here’s how long it could take. Here’s what our end goal looks like. It’s unrealistic to expect them to come out and say they’re hiring X manager on X date. But, simple communication to let us know the actual plan instead of pretending we care about making the 10th playoff spot in the East would go a long ways.
The players are playing their hearts out as was evident by the Inter Miami match. Despite what was perhaps the worst lineup sheet, based purely on talent alone, penned in club history, the match was actually fun to watch for spells. I promise you that the fans that watched that 90 minutes know that this season is dead and buried but will continue to tune in no matter what. To continue to create a false sense of hope just to save face publicly makes no sense.
Uncertainty around the long-term future and direction of the club is more worrying than the short-term disappointment of bad results. If the worry is upsetting fans, I’m quite sure that the current strategy of pretending everything is normal is only going to insult everyone’s intelligence. Getting some clarity on what the long-term plan looks like could go a long ways to start repairing the undeniable fracture within the community. Please just give us that, even if it’s in the vaguest terms possible. It will make our inevitable pain a lot more tolerable while we wait for what’s to come.