Y’all were a little unsure how I got five things this week? Me too...it’s been a long two weeks. But while there hasn’t been a ton of news coming out of the Atlanta United camp, there are still some noteworthy tidbits to sate your appetite until tomorrow’s return!
This is nothing against Atlanta United 2 at all, but you know it’s a weird week when the most noteworthy Five Stripes’ story so far has to do with the 2’s winning 3-0 by forfeit after technically losing 1-0. Miles Robinson and George Bello participated in international soccer drama, while Ronald Hernandez helped propel Venezuela to a win (finally) over Ecuador. Oh, and by the way, everyone is still celebrating Josef’s 100th goal.
- Atlanta United 2 somehow remain in playoff contention after a forfeit.
So you’re saying there’s a chance? There is indeed a mathematical chance that Atlanta United 2 could still make the playoffs. That’s not the strange part here, though. The team set off to play Sporting Kansas City 2 on Wednesday and fought a tough battle that ended in a 1-0 loss. It was rough because it all but put a nail in the coffin in their playoff hopes, which were already looking slim, but then the soccer gods shined down on the team and magically changed the score from a 1-0 loss to a 3-0 win. How, you ask?
SKC 2 decided it would be a brilliant idea to field a player for 90 minutes who was suspended for yellow card accumulation. How in the world that makes it past any pre-game meeting is beyond me, but what’s even crazier (and applauded) is the fact that the USL made such a quick fix of the issue and to this date I still haven’t heard if D.C. United took any punishment after sending a player onto the field against Atlanta United last year who WASN’T EVEN ON THE ROSTER!
Anyway, this sudden turn of events puts Atlanta United 2 right back into playoff contention, however slim it may be. They would have to obviously win their next two matches and get some help around the league, but yes...there is still a chance.
2. Atlanta United players continue the international break with their respective countries.
Those countries are, of course, the United States and Venezuela, and I wish I had a slew of awesome highlight reels to post here for your enjoyment, but I don’t. I do, however, have this one of Miles Robinson running down a geriatric and robbing him of his soccer ball.
Granted, Miles Robinson was also the one who put himself in that situation, but if you think about it, maybe this was his way of guaranteeing a better stats card in FIFA next year since they screwed him this year.
George Bello didn’t quite have as much of an impact this international break, and unfortunately was a part of the USMNT loss to Panama on Sunday. However, Bello did receive quite the honor this week:
I’ve said before that I think Bello has the makings of an outstanding wingback, but at this level he needs someone to...take him under their wing. Yeah, I said it. In all seriousness, if he were to receive the true one-on-one coaching he needs, his play could truly go to the next tier.
3. Atlanta United prepares for Toronto
Atlanta is coming back to play this weekend with a point to prove. They’re sitting just outside the Eastern Conference playoff spots, with a favorable schedule ahead. They’ve received plenty of rest, including Josef Martinez, who is listed as day-to-day. It seems foolish to force minutes on him now because the Five Stripes should truly be able to handle Toronto with ease, and it seems that Gonzalo Pineda has been working on some of the issues plaguing the team in their recent losses. Most notably, they’ve been drilling getting more players into the box and specifically playing without Josef. Those are two aspects of the attack that have needed a focus since early 2020, so it’s good Pineda is focusing on those issues now that there are no excuses with the talent the team can field. This article is an outstanding look into the team’s mindset going into this last stretch.
Gearing up for Toronto— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) October 14, 2021
If you read the article, you’ll see that Cubo even scored, so perhaps the cosmic curse that has plagued him since he arrived in Atlanta is gone? As long as he doesn’t Mario-punch a ball in the penalty box and keeps controlling that three feet of corner in the closing minutes of matches, the team is on a roll.
4. Santiago Sosa, Cubo Torres, and Erik Lopez make surprise visit to Soccer in the Streets.
I wanted to include this story for a couple of reasons. First, any time Atlanta players get out and participate in the community is a plus for everyone. Forget the whole PR thing, it’s just cool to see famous athletes just being people. And second, the fact that they were able to come out and speak to kids about their experiences moving to a new country, when many of those kids, or at least their parents, had to do the same thing is just really neat. Again, it shows the connection with the community and how they can truly relate to the fans.
Coming together through our cultures & love for the beautiful game.@Erickestefano15, @SantiSosa_99 & @Eriklopez_32 visited Soccer in the Streets this week with ATLUTD's Bi-Cultural Education Program (BCEP) : https://t.co/iS1oQ1vyIl pic.twitter.com/7FOEGTwcvf— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) October 15, 2021
5. The Braves win the NLDS because the king showed up at their home games.
El Rey cheered on Los Bravos at Truist Park as they battled the Brewers to win the NLDS. Josef even got to throw out the first pitch prior to one of the games. I really hope he got some good parking though, because some of those parking lots could be crazy far for that knee.
Using my amazing detective skills, I took the above picture shortly after it was posted and pulled off some fancy geolocation work to reveal the true whereabouts of El Rey.
I actually think the cameraman was doing the same thing, because it seemed like the rest of the game he was zoomed out just enough to show them sitting there during every pitch. My conclusion? The TBS folks are Atlanta United fans.
Speaking of Josef Martinez, this video is worth checking out as a footnote on his 100th goal:
100 goals, lessons learned & giving it all for Atlanta United.— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) October 12, 2021
This is @JosefMartinez17's journey.
So I really did pull out five things to know this week. Prayerfully next week these articles return to much more news about Atlanta United winning, Mando Moreno and Luiz Araujo stealing souls, and Barco showboating, but no matter what I’m going to keep bringing the news if it’s there! Wait until y’all see the off season.