Before I get started on this recap piece that’s set to become a weekly occurrence here at DSS, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Tyler Pilgrim, and you may have read a couple of my other articles I’ve written in the past week, especially the one where I’m desperately trying to get Marcelino “Mando” Moreno to be a thing (“This is the way” Mandalorian chant at the Benz, please). Anyway, I came to be here because of a passion for writing, Atlanta United, and soccer as a whole. I love this club and what it’s meant to the city, state, and region of the country in which I grew up, and I’ve been a supporter since the rumor mill started turning about an Atlanta MLS team. No, I don’t get to attend every game, as much as I would love to, but I’ll move mountains to make sure I’m in a position to watch or listen to each match. We have something special here in the ATL and the players and supporters recognize that, and this is my way of becoming more involved in the culture that is Atlanta United.
I can’t say thanks enough to Rob and all the folks at DSS for allowing me to jump right in and connect with the team and the fans. From here on out I’ll be doing a weekly recap of Atlanta United news on Friday, some opinion pieces here and there, and probably some more post-match articles involving legendary Marcelino Moreno quotes. I even snuck into the latest Mouths of the South podcast (thanks Eric and Sam!). Lastly, I’d be honored if you’d go follow me on Twitter and Instagram @ATLPilgrim, because everyone knows success is measured by follows and I wish to be successful.
Now that I’ve been properly introduced, we’ll move on to the reason you’re here in the first place. Without further ado, here are the four noteworthy moments surrounding the club over this past week.
Gonzalo Pineda officially takes the helm and Rob Valentino ends his interim stint on a high note.
If we’re being honest, the saga of Rob Valentino has probably been the most unexpected success story, not because anyone thought he would necessarily be bad, but because the club was just that far down in the dumps. We celebrate his success, and earlier this week he passed the reigns over to Gonzalo Pineda to start putting his stamp on the Five Stripes. Luckily, Rob will be staying on to work right alongside Pineda. Speaking of Gonzo, he brings a wealth of knowledge from his days as a player in Mexico for Guadalajara and other clubs, the Mexican national team, and the Seattle Sounders. He also carries an undeniable pedigree as an assistant coach for Seattle, which is precisely what drew D.C. United to him last offseason. They chose not to pick him up, and now Atlanta United has swooped in and secured a coach who seems tactically sound, intelligent, and most importantly, understanding of the fact that his players are people (I saw water jugs in their pictures from practice).
Respect.@GonzoPineda8 @Rob_Valentino pic.twitter.com/FrjJGiA22q— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) August 25, 2021
Atlanta beat D.C. United for their fourth straight win.
My life has been a whirlwind this week so this seems like ages ago. The fact is, less than a week ago the Five Stripes rolled up to the nation’s capital and put in work to keep their winning streak alive. Josef Martinez scored, Brad Guzan got caught off guard by a bomb of a free kick to give up the equalizer, and Marcelino “Mando” Moreno snuck a daisy cutter through some D.C. legs for the winner. Ezequiel Barco continued to look strong, and Luis Araujo had another solid game that showed more of his quality on the ball. George Campbell came on after a knock to Alan Franco and helped solidify the back line to finish out the match, which saw D.C. hammering Atlanta for a solid 25 minutes in the second half. This victory brought Atlanta United even with D.C. United on points, and they now sit just outside the final playoff spot on goal differential. Let’s pray Gonzo can keep the guys in this run of good form when Nashville comes to the Benz on Saturday.
That sneaky goal that sealed the victory pic.twitter.com/xi7kK88jR3— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) August 22, 2021
Multiple Atlanta United players will be called up or unavailable in upcoming weeks.
Josef Martinez, Ronald Hernandez, George Bello, and Miles Robinson all received call-ups to their national teams for World Cup qualifying. The way the schedules fall, it’s unlikely we’ll get to see the Venezuelans back in time for the match against Orlando City on September 10th, which is unfortunate, but they’re all very deserving of the honors. In a related tidbit of club/national team information, Atlanta United is one of only two clubs that have more than one player on the USMNT World Cup Qualifying Roster, with the other being Fulham FC. It was also revealed on Thursday that the injury to Santiago Sosa will likely sideline him for quite some time. This is a rough blow to Atlanta’s struggling midfield, and likely an issue that will cause Gonzo some early headache on the tactical board. Amar Sejdic, this is your chance to show out!
CALLED UP @_GeorgeBello and @_MilesRobinson_ have been named to the @USMNT roster for September #WorldCup Qualifiers. pic.twitter.com/aubZHVyzW9— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) August 26, 2021
There was an All-Star game this week.
George Bello and Miles Robinson both were chosen as MLS All-Stars, which is awesome. More awesome is the fact that neither got hurt. It’s not that I’m completely against All-Star games, but I’m pretty sure Greg Garza’s shoulder still hurts from the 2017 match. It’s just a bad taste.
The MLS All-Stars prevailed over the Liga MX All-Stars thanks to the penalty shootout heroics of Matt Turner.
There ya have it, folks. I truly hope you’ve enjoyed this first edition, as I’m very excited to be bringing it every week. Thanks again for the warm welcome to DSS, and don’t forget to say howdy over on Twitter and Instagram.