GK Brad Guzan 7: Yes, he committed the penalty that gave Miami the lead in the first half, but he stepped up on two occasions with massive saves that were needed in order for Atlanta United to secure the crucial result. Miami created 1.1 xG from open play and scored 0 goals. Credit to Guzan, despite the one error.
RWB Brooks Lennon 7: A consistent performer on Atlanta’s right side throughout the season, Lennon won five of his six duels in the game and adjusted well to the tactical change in the second half.
CB Miles Robinson 7: Solid game from Miles. While his stat sheet is always loaded with defensive actions, his four interceptions were big with some of them coming in key situations in the box to cut out a threatening Miami attack.
CB Alan Franco 8: Alan Franco was superb. He is looking as quick and athletically dynamic as we’ve seen this season, and this game is another example of a performance that was much more valuable than, say, when he had three assists. 13 ball recoveries. 10 duels won. 6/8 accurate long balls. He has settled into Atlanta and become one of the premiere central defenders in MLS.
CB Anton Walkes 5: He only played one half, but Walkes’ stat sheet is a little concerning, especially when compared to his other defenders. FOr example, I’m not sure what’s more strange: that he won only one duel, or that he only contested for two duels total. His only tackle attempt was a foul. He just seems like he’s not playing at his best right now. Having said that, Pineda’s decision to remove him at halftime was surely down to the tactical changes that were required, and not a reflection of Walkes’ performance.
LWB George Bello 7: Bello is really growing on the defensive side with his instincts improving that allows a physical player like him to be more dominant. He was sloppy at times on the ball, but his aggression going forward benefits the team tremendously.
CM Franco Ibarra 6: Ibarra did the job that was needed of him on the night. He wasn’t perfect and I don’t think anyone will be calling for him to start when Santiago Sosa is healthy. But if he and Pineda can find a comfortable role for him in the team like they did Wednesday night as part of a midfield pair, it will be big for the team come playoff time. He was certainly unafraid to make his presence felt in the middle of the park, engaging himself in 17 duels (winning 10).
CM Matheus Rossetto 7: Speaking of the youngster Ibarra, a player like Rossetto is perfect to have next to him in central midfield. A composed player who can slow things down, maintain possession and allow the team to not get bent out of shape. Rossetto had the most completed passes in the match and did so at the highest rate of completion. I maintain that he’s a vital piece for the team at the present moment.
AM Luiz Araujo 9 (Man of the Match): What more do I need to say? Luiz showed exactly why he is one of the top players in MLS with his brilliantly conceived free kick goal and the even lovlier slipped through ball to Josef for the game-winning assist. The spotlight was on Atlanta’s attackers to step up in the second half and the Brazilian did just that.
AM Ezequiel Barco 9: Barco’s stat line is absolutely insane — largely driven by his record amount of 12 fouls won during the game. Since those fould won count as winning a duel, he ended up winning 19 out of 21 duels! Even stripping those 12 instances out, winning 7 out of 9 as an attacking player is impressive as hell. His pure technical quality was so obvious in this one, and it reinforced how impactful his absence was in the team’s performance against NYCFC a week ago. He didn’t get on the score sheet with goals or assists, but Atlanta doesn’t get this result without him.
ST Josef Martinez 7: Good to see Josef ramp up his gametime with 81 minutes played, and even better to see him cap off the appearance with the wining goal that should boost his confidence. Even the goal that was ruled offside was good to see. Pineda will need to strike a fine balance between getting Josef the rest and goalscoring confidence he needs as the team heads toward the playoffs.
SUB Marcelino Moreno 7: Unbeknownst to us, Moreno was nearly a scratch for this game altogether as Pineda revealed that he couldn’t walk properly earlier this week as the Argentine is dealing with a foot injury. He made an impact in the second half creating three chances.
SUBs Cubo Torres, George Campbell NA