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Five Stripes Recap: All Week 6 Club News

Highlights from virtually every team in the Atlanta United pipeline including, unfortunately, even this last match

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Charlotte FC Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

While this past week has been a bit frustrating after Atlanta United’s loss to newcomers Charlotte F.C., it has cemented one exceptionally important fact: the Atlanta United fanbase is passionate. The various hot takes have been splattered all over the target, with folks calling for #guzanout, people stating Mando Moreno doesn’t have a place on the squad, others advocating for a complete rebuild, and then literally everything in between. Meanwhile, others are looking at the positives; for example, Atlanta being the better side overall in the match, all while being the unfortunate recipient of an Olimpico. Or Atlanta’s creating a ton of chances against a side being held aloft by their largely above-average goalkeeper and intelligent coach.

No matter the discussion, let’s take a minute and revel in the fact that we as fans, journalists, casuals, supporters, and everyone throughout the club actually have the opportunity to even argue about these topics. Can we expect and hope for better? Sure. Can we continue to hold out hope of the 2018 domination returning? Absolutely, and it could be argued that the only thing holding that back is the lack of Atlanta’s full talent being able to step onto a pitch together. Regardless of the results, the Five Stripes are holding out in a favorable spot with plenty of season left to play.

With all that being said, let’s dive into the notable events from the past week in the world of Atlanta United.

Atlanta United Lose 1-0 to Charlotte F.C.

Let’s get this one out of the way. A loss sucks, whatever, I get it, especially when it’s to the little brother who finally beats you in Super Smash Bros. when you have a handicap set on yourself, and then all you get to hear is their mouth for the next week about how “I BeAt yoU!”

The match started off a bit shaky on Atlanta’s side, but it wasn’t until A SET PIECE that the Five Stripes ended up giving up three corners in a row. And of course, as the soccer gods have revealed, Atlanta United and set pieces just don’t work right now. A floated, in-swinging corner from Charlotte drifted into the box, and then over the line’s heads, and then over Guzan’s head, and then somewhere into the back of the net. Olimpico.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Charlotte FC Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Something like that definitely leaves a bad taste in the collective mouth, and it’s easy to start blaming Brad Guzan. This one will be picked apart for weeks, but it’s worth noting that Charlotte had an absolute game plan on set pieces. They intentionally placed a player in front of Brad to draw his attention and pull him forward, and no one in Atlanta took the time to help push the Charlotte attacker out of the way. It’s a great plan, but no one would’ve guessed it would have turned into an Olimpico. It’s a goal, it’s a lucky goal. But it put Charlotte up 1-0 where they’d remain for the rest of the match.

But Atlanta didn’t go down without a fight. They created chances throughout the rest of the match, with some shining moments by Thiago Almada, Marcelino Moreno, and Andrew Gutman. Also, the intro of Ronaldo Cisneros was absolutely promising, as he provides a type of striker that could link up very well with the play styles of Moreno, Almada, and Araujo. The Five Stripes beat on the door but could never knock it down and open up the scoring. It happens, it isn’t the end of the world nor the end of the season. It has to be remembered that Gonzalo Pineda is not working anywhere close to his plan A right now. They’ve squeaked away some results in the past few matches, and while everyone wants to see a dominant 3-0 performance, that’s just not how this game always plays out.

Speaking of squeaking away a result, Caleb Wiley was literally centimeters away from bagging his second goal of the season late in the match off a volleyed, airborne ball that just scraped the far post. In other words, there are promising signs, it isn’t just doom and gloom.

Next time, we’re turning off the handicap.

Injury News

The word injury has been getting thrown around everywhere lately in the realm of Atlanta United. Clearly Orlando or some other degenerate has placed some voodoo in someone’s bag, but thankfully not everything is shaded in dark clouds. The team released some info Tuesday on 92.9 The Game about Josef, Rossetto, Hyndman, and Araujo, all of which was fairly promising.

“By the end of May” seems quick, but it’s worth remembering that Josef’s surgery was minimally invasive. One can only hope this is the final touch on “El Rey’s” knee saga, and that he comes back feeling beyond 100%. Either way, this is good news for a team that has the aspirations of Atlanta.

Additionally, it was also reported by Darren Eales on 92.9 that Luiz Araujo began training with the team again, that Matheus Rossetto could return much quicker than many feared, and that Emerson Hyndman could be making an appearance very soon.

For a team racked with injuries, this news was a pleasant surprise. It wouldn’t be astonishing to see any of the latter three get limited minutes against F.C. Cincinnati, or even against Chattanooga the U.S. Open Cup next week.

Finally, it needs to mentioned that Ozzie Alonso has undergone his ACL surgery and is about to begin rehab. Here’s to a quick, trouble-free healing process.

Atlanta United 2 Loses 4-0 to Detroit City in football match-turned Criss Angel card-trick show

Shenanigans. Tomfoolery. Wtf. Many other choice words could be used to describe what happened in the last few minutes of this Atlanta United 2 match at home against Detroit City. First, it must be stated that the 2’s didn’t have the best match, and what happened in the final few minutes didn’t effect the result at all. Detroit City showed their quality and opened up the scoring in the 23rd minute. However, the home team weren’t having a terrible time; they showed flashes of quality but were never able to put anything together and conceded 3 goals before the half.

The second half saw the 2’s Jonantan Villal come inches from scoring a beauty.

And then things went horribly awry. In a promising attack, Darwin Matheus was clearly fouled in the box but no foul was called nor any penalty given. Detroit immediately pushed back the other way and found a fourth goal to add insult to injury. Matheus was clearly frustrated and on the next kickoff, he apparently said something that insulted referee Jordan Gray’s entire existence in this universe, because he was immediately shown a red card and sent off for “dissent.” It’s obviously unknown what was said, but it appeared Darwin said it in passing; there was no arguing in the ref’s face or consistent yelling over and over. Regardless, he was sent off and things became infinitely more inconsistent.

With just a few moments left in the match, Nigel Prince made a rough sliding tackle into a Detroit City player and was quickly flashed a yellow. But this is important: another Detroit City player then turned and smashed the ball into the ground and began screaming at Jordan Gray. Yet Matheus was sent off less than ten minutes prior for mumbling something to the ref before kickoff? THEN, the ref turns around and changes the yellow to a red, and sends off Nigel Prince.

But wait, there’s more.

The second red clearly frustrated the bench, and some jaw-jacking began back and forth on the sidelines. Jack Collison stepped in, seemingly (by his demeanor and body language) trying to calm everyone down, not just the Atlanta United 2 players. He then receives a yellow. The entire final 20 minutes of the match were an absolute disaster. Granted, it has to be noted that refs obviously have to get full match experience, and everyone starts somewhere. But this one got out of hand in a rough way, to the point that it seemed both teams were fully content with just walking off the pitch at the 90 minute mark. At 90+2 they did just that, and unfortunately Atlanta United 2 is now down two options as they prepare for Indy Eleven on Saturday. Furthermore, the craziness cast a shadow over some significant events for a few 2’s players as newcomer Nelson Orji made his first appearance and Cristiano Bruletti and Emenike Nwogu also stepped up into their new professional capacity.

Atlanta United Academy participates in the Generation Adidas Cup

The Generation Adidas Cup is a U-15 and U-17 tournament that gives youth academies through MLS and afar great experience in a tournament setting. The current iteration is happening now out in Dallas, bringing in talent from Manchester United, Celtic, River Plate, Tigres, and plenty of other juggernauts.

Atlanta United is repping very well. The U-15’s have shown great promise against some tough foes in their group stage with the likes of Porto, Philadelphia Union, and Portland Timbers making up the full quartet, and they dominated the group with 2 wins and a draw to advance. They then worked over Rayados 2-0 in the round of 16. As of this writing, the U-15’s just defeated Tigres in a wonderful 3-1 match to head into the semi-finals, so don’t forget to keep an eye on the youngins’ going forward as they take on Valencia at 8 P.M. Eastern tonight. Who knows who the next George Campbell or Caleb Wiley may be?

By the way, just take a moment and rejoice in this wonderful celebration from the game-winner here:

The U-17s started off well in their group stage, taking second in the quartet against the likes of Celtic, New England Revolution, and FC Cincinnati, but were unfortunately knocked out in the round of 16 by Inter Miami. There was plenty of talent to be seen, though, and they still have three matches left to build up further experience against other up-and-comings.

If you’re interested in checking out any of these matches, check out the Generation Adidas page here, as most of the matches are on Twitch or Youtube.

We Ready

When Atlanta United debuted, Archie Eversole rapidly became the Atlanta rapper nobody knew Atlanta United needed. But now, his anthem “We Ready” has become an iconic part of the experience at Five Stripes’ matches at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and no doubt contributes to the intimidating atmosphere that helps the city bring home results week-in and week-out. That’s why his recent passing hits even closer to home for supporters, because he was widely known as a man of the people and a guy who came out to cheer on Atlanta United as a true fan, not a celebrity. Tragically, Archie was murdered by his brother in Dekalb County, but it’s clear his legacy will live on strong not only amongst Atlanta supporters but Atlanta in general. Here’s hoping “We Ready” gets absolutely blasted for a very long time at every home match.

The Five Stripes are back in action tomorrow against F.C. Cincinnati as they look to develop a positive performance at home. Do we see Hyndman back in the lineup? Does Araujo get a chance to run all over Cincy again in the Benz? Can Cisneros, Almada, and/or Moreno make the most of a frayed backline that has given up 14 goals this season? If you get a few moments, go check out my chat with the wonderful folks at Cincinnati Soccer Talk as we discuss the upcoming matchup, Atlanta’s injury situation, and what Gonzalo Pineda has brought to the team.