Atlanta United continued their stumble towards the playoffs with a disappointing 1-1 draw at home against New York City FC. The Five Stripes seemingly had the three points in their grasp until a silly foul very late gifted the visitors a golden free kick chance that they did not waste. Here are a few thoughts on yet another topsy-turvy result for the side in 2021.
- This absolutely should’ve been three points. It doesn’t matter that Josef Martinez was unable to start and that Ezequiel Barco was suspended. There’s still enough talent on the roster to beat a team struggling as badly as NYCFC was. Unfortunately it came down to two issues as to why the full points didn’t come to fruition. Firstly, the age old problem of finishing chances. Marcelino Moreno’s first half goal was a very good goal. Luiz Araujo had one of his better performances since arriving in Atlanta and did brilliantly to win the ball and set up the goal. While it’s obvious that the team needed to finish another chance off to finish off the match, according to OPTA, Marcelino’s goal was the best chance the team created. So, it’s not like they were creating loads of good chances and just missing them. Secondly, Amar Sejdic’s foul leading up to the equalizing free kick was totally avoidable and rather silly. There was no need to be as aggressive towards the attacker in that dangerous of a spot when Atlanta’s back line had been strong at bending but not breaking all night. If you give teams great chances like that eventually you’re going to get burnt. It’s unfortunate that NYCFC possess the quality to convert a dangerous free kick.
- With the dust settled and four matches remaining, Atlanta United sit in fifth place in the East, just two points ahead of the red playoff line. It is a necessity for the team to start picking up victories, especially in the next two which will be the final regular season home matches of the year against weaker teams. If they can get six out of six points against Toronto and Miami in their next two they should be in great shape heading into the final two-match away stretch. The team now has a full week to rest and get healthier. We can only hope to see a full-strength lineup come next Wednesday and really start to see a finished product on the field.