Normally I’d put a brief rundown of what happened in the game in this space, but instead I’m going to just make a little editor’s note. I hear there was... let’s call it spirited debate in the comments of this post last week. Which is great! I hope people debate the ratings I give here, because I’m rating and reacting to what I just saw — just like everyone else. And they are my unvarnished thoughts — given without having read or heard other opinions, even from the TV broadcast
Secondly, a note on how I assign the actual numbers. This is just how I like to do them, but understand everyone has their own way. I assign numbers so that they might fit into a bell curve, with the center or that curve being roughly 5.5. Thus, anything 5 or lower is critical to varying degrees and anything 6 or above is a superlative. Also, because soccer is so fluid and its so hard to pin own exactly how actions contribute to team performance, the vast majority of my rating assigned will be in the 3-8 chunk. IMO if a player is to earn a 1,2,9 or 10, they are going to very much have to earn those. That’s just the way I like to do it. Others are different and that’s cool too!
With that out of the way, let’s get on to the ratings.
GK Brad Guzan 6: Judging Guzan in this system is tough because he’s hardly ever going to have a game in which can he rack up a bunch of saves. Atlanta’s high-pressure, high-possession system means his duties are mainly going to be in distribution, but the shots he does face are going to be very difficult to stop.
LB George Bello 7: Probably Bello’s best game of the season. He found more space and opportunities on the left side than he has in weeks, and capitalized with an assist to Erik Lopez.
CB Miles Robinson 8: What a game from Miles Robinson. While he’s had tougher tests defending some of the top forwards in the league, Saturday’s match showed just how much his passing has progressed since Tata Martino was hesitant to play him in 2018. Pinpoint diagonals to open up the play, and assisted Moreno with a perfectly judged vertical pass.
CB Anton Walkes 7: Walkes was good and again was a composed head at the back. I know Atlanta gave up two goals in this game but it’s hard to fault many of the defensive players, or individual players in general, for these errors. Soccer is hard and weird and sometimes shit happens.
RB Brooks Lennon 6: Lennon wasn’t as involved on the ball against Nashville as we’ve seen recently, but he continues to be extremely solid defensively and generally makes correct decisions.
DM Santiago Sosa 6: On the ball, Sosa is a joy to watch and showed his skills once again Saturday afternoon. Defensively he was more aggressive going forward to close players down than we’ve seen recently playing more reserved.
CM Emerson Hyndman 5: Maybe it’s just me but it was one of those games where I didn’t notice much of Hyndman tbh. He could’ve been closer to his mark to help thwart Nashville’s first goal.
W Jake Mulraney 5: Mulraney gave Atlanta what they would’ve Wanted coming into the game, which is a direct threat o the wing that helped create space for others. His moments to go 1v1 were not very successful, but his qualities in general complement his teammates nicely.
AM Marcelino Moreno 6: Scored an early goal on a direct run into space. Other than that though, I thought he was just okay. Was often chasing his man out of possession and IMO Erik Lopez looked more dangerous in the attack.
W Erik Lopez 7: This was the Erik Lopez we’ve (just me? No... WE) have been waiting to see. He was energetic all game long, composed when he needed to be and particularly on his deft touch to turn the ball into the net in the second half.
ST Josef Martinez 6: One of the most promising signs from Josef toady was how he looked when he got on the ball: quick, aggressive and decisive. A run on the ball in the first half nearly lead to a goal for Erik Lopez, and the overhead attempt is just another good sign of his own confidence in his legs.
SUB Ezequiel Barco: Frantic and ineffective. He didn’t make a stamp on the game that I thought he would coming on against a Nashville team that was against the ropes.
SUB Franco Ibarra: The team looked unsettled after he came on. He’s a feisty player, but doesn’t always make the wisest decisions, and playing in his position you really need to do that.