FOOOOUUUUUUUURRRRRRR IN A ROWWWWWWWWW
GK Brad Guzan 7 - Guzan admitted his mistake on DC United’s goal, but let’s be honest: the strike to score the goal was incredible, and it’s not like Guzan was picking daisies while it happened. When this kind of stuff happens to an outfield player defending a set piece, we easily glance over it. And it’s also easier to look past it when he played as well as he did at all other times during the game — from reaction saves to claiming passes into the box, it was a very good performance from Guzan despite the error.
RWB Brooks Lennon 6 - Pretty quiet game for Lennon, but it was a continued progression from where he was when he was first reintroduced post-injury a couple games prior.
CB Miles Robinson 7 - Won 66 percent of his duels on top of 6 recoveries... what did you expect from Robinson? A bad performance? never.
CB Alan Franco 7 - Franco required a late sub, but was excellent while he was on. Only lost one duel and had 6 recoveries. He is turning out to be the standout center back that we all thought the team was acquiring and he should be a rock at the back for this team for quite some time.
CB Anton Walkes 6 - I nitpicked Walkes last week and am going to do it again here, though he was better than vs. Toronto. On the plus side, he passed at 93 percent, the highest among the back line. But he also lost 8 of 13 duels he faced.
LWB George Bello 7 - While it doesn’t really show on the stat sheet, Bello was a much better tactical fit Saturday than vs Toronto thanks to the positioning tweak from Marcelino Moreno. Bello was better able to get forward and stretch DC ‘s backline. It caused danger when he was able to get in behind a couple times through interplay with Barco.
CM Amar Sejdic 8 - This is another one where the stats don’t show how effective Sejdic was in this game, and I’m giving him an extra point for the level of difficulty in basically being the lone pure central midfielder (though he had more help than Santiago Sosa had vs. Toronto). And for a player who was 50/50 on his availability due to injury, absolutely huge.
CM that actually WAS a CM Marcelino Moreno 9 (Man of the Match) - Obviously the winning goal he scored takes the headlines, but there’s so much good stuff to talk about from Moreno in this match. Tactically, his (new) positioning will benefit the team and imo the player himself greatly going forward. He had the space to dribble from deep areas (4/5 successful on the night) as perfectly demonstrated by his nutmeg of Julian Gressel that lead to his assist to Josef Martinez.
This goal being a good example. Removing him from a more advanced position also clears the way for Bello to make aggressive vertical runs. pic.twitter.com/oNPNU4cRcv— Joe Patrick (@japatrick200) August 22, 2021
This position gives better balance to the whole team and suits Moreno’s skillset as a player who can get box-to-box and beat defenders 1v1 when he has lots of space to take them on.
LW Ezequiel Barco 8- It wasn’t the kind of performance that will have his name up in lights, but he was a crucial supporting player in Atlanta’s attack Saturday. He won an incredible 13 of 15 duels (8 of which were fouls won — an insane amount but not uncommon for Barco) and created 3 chances including an assist.
RW Luiz Araujo 8 - Araujo was quietly terrific. And I say quietly because it seems like everything he does is so smooth and nonchalant that you hardly realize he won 11/14 duels in the game and was 4/5 on his dribble attempts. Sofar through two games we’ve seen Araujo drop deeper into midfield than maybe we anticpated, but he has good vision when he picks the ball up in those areas and can spot clever angled passes into Barco and Josef making runs ahead.
ST Josef Martinez 7 - Kind of your classic Josef performance where his game is predicated on running in behind and thus disorganizing the opponents back line. He hardly touched the ball — only 27 total in the match — but the beauty of Josef is that he doesn’t always have to be on the ball to affect the game and help his teammates.
SUB Matheus Rossetto 6 — Did okay coming into a very difficult role for his playstyle as basically a No. 6 shielding the back line. He did well enough.
SUB George Campbell 8 — Hands down Campbell’s best game as a pro. And it was all the more impressive given that he didn’t start the game, but instead came on to replace Franco when things were super intense and Atlanta was trying to cling to a result. Campbell made huge plays in a composed fashion.
SUB Ronald Hernandez NA