We all know that Atlanta United has looked like a much different team than the one that started the season so poorly under former head coach Gabriel Heinze. So much so that many people, including yours truly, aren’t counting this team out of going on a run in the playoffs and finishing the season with an MLS Cup.
I know, that sounds crazy. The team is in 5th place in the Eastern Conference (a big improvement from where they sat in 8th place just days ago!) and they’ll be fortunate to earn a home playoff game. But thanks to Atlanta United’s radio play-by-play voice, Mike Conti, we have some good numbers to go along with the eye test fans have noticed in recent weeks.
MLS points earned since August 1...— Mike Conti (@MikeConti929) October 18, 2021
New England: 30
MLS points per match since August 1...
New England: 2.3
Atlanta United have compiled the second-most points in the league since August first. ANd it’s not because they had a backlogged fixture list — they are also second in points earned per game. It’s a remarkable achievement in and of itself and evidence of the impressive turnaround from the players and staff since the club parted ways with Gabriel Heinze on July 18.
It’s no small sample. Since August 1, Atlanta United has played 13 games — winning nine, losing three and drawing just once (the first match of the sample, a 2-2 draw on the road against Montreal).
This is evidence that supports the notion that everything is still possible for the team this year, despite the heavy turmoil the team has been through. Whether it’s losing EMerson Hyndman for the season, physical and emotional setbacks for Josef Martinez as he returns from his catastrophic knee injury, or of course suffering through a brutal managerial regime, just about everything that could’ve gone wrong for the Five Stripes this season has.
And yet, here they are. With the toughest remaining game on the schedule to be played on their home field against a team with a day-less rest in NYCFC on Wednesday, the path is clear for the Five Stripes to finish the regular season strong in both the table and the players’ individual and collective confidence.
So go ahead and dream big and don’t let anyone tell you you’re crazy.