As we venture into the early days of a long offseason after a disappointing year, Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank made an appearance on the club’s radio flagship 92.9 The Game to talk about the team.
In his statement, Blank seemingly shored up the position of head coach Gonzalo Pineda, but directly admitted that the team’s recruitment and “personnel” is under assessment.
Arthur Blank to @steakshapiro on Atlanta United: "We don't play the matches to lose... We think we have a bright young coach who is moving in the right direction. We are assessing other areas of the club like scouting and personnel that we think are important."— Mike Conti (@MikeConti929) October 24, 2022
Any fan even remotely interested in the team (and surely everyone reading this) will immediately jump to the conclusion that Blank is referring to the team’s Vice President of Soccer Operations Carlos Bocanegra. Bocanegra oversees everything on the sporting side and has a direct hand in the exact aspects of the club that Blank referenced.
The team remains without a full-time top executive as interim president Steve Cannon continues to search for Darren Eales’ successor. That vacancy has left Bocanegra with even more responsibility, and perhaps accountability, as the team slumped to a record that saw it tied for the 5th-lowest points total in MLS in 2022.
If anything, it seems to be a reassurance for fans to know that Blank’s antenna is raised over the team’s recent struggles. After getting knocked out of the 2019 MLS Cup Eastern Conference Final by Toronto FC, Atlanta has only played in one playoff game in the three years since — a 2-0 loss on the road to New York City FC last year under Pineda.
Atlanta United is likely to announce a set of end-of-season roster moves in mid-November upon the conclusion of MLS Cup.