Atlanta United met the minimum requirement to win
Gonzalo Pineda got the response he was hoping to see from his team in rebounding from a lackluster display at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday night with a 4-0 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium last night. He admitted after the 3-1 loss to Charlotte that his team lacked intensity. But the proper energy was restored to the team against Colorado Wednesday night, and that garra that gave them the platform to go on and win the game. You only give yourself a chance to win by giving this kind of effort and mental sharpness, so it was good to see the team deliver despite some less-than-ideal circumstances entering the match.
Let’s be calm about this
When you look at the stats after this one, they are lopsided in a glorious way, but those stats don’t quite tell the story of how close this game was. This game was 1-0 in the 79th minute. And I don’t mean to take away any of the good stuff or even the quality of the goals that were scored late on. The Five Stripes did well to limit Rapids shots overall and create many of their own. However, Colorado did have some threatening moments that didn’t result in a technical shot attempt, and the team went a long while without creating a high quality chance after Almada’s missed penalty (and that includes Almada’s free kick). The majority of Atlanta’s exceedingly high expected goals in this game came from 3 shots: a penalty and two from the doorstep.
And hell, even if it was a complete and utter trouncing, the players and staff must keep a steady head and reproduce this kind of performance on a regular basis. They showed tonight that despite having only a partially fit Giakoumakis and neither of their top two left back, they can be even more dominant than this. And they will get their next chance to show that on the road Saturday in Chicago — a very winnable road game.
Giorgos Giakoumakis (obviously) makes a massive impact
Of course any team will be better when they’re DP striker is playing versus when he is not, but last night was a striking reminder of that for Atlanta United fans who saw Giorgos Giakoumakis get a 40-minute runout in the second half. It really is a vastly different level of play at the position in comparison to the understudy Miguel Berry (who had one of his better games in an Atlanta United shirt in his own right). Yako offers incredible movement, both toward and away from the ball, and chooses the correct movements to make in certain situations. From there, his technical ability to either combine with teammates or have a go himself takes over, and it makes this a vastly different team.
Gonzalo Pineda after tonight's win on GG:— Joe Patrick (@japatrick200) May 18, 2023
"Just does whatever is needed to help the team win in any way he can, scoring goals, defending, pressing, or chasing. That's why the team is very confident when he is on the field." https://t.co/Lf5xvV0Cu8
It’s worth reflecting on how his absence has impacted Atlanta United’s recent poor run of form. He already feels like the heart and soul of this team.
Luiz Araujo has a moment
So it’s been obvious to pretty much everyone that while Atlanta United has been going through it’s poor run of form, so too has one of it’s supposed star players in Luiz Araujo. He posted this on social media this week:
Luiz Araujo via Instagram stories #ATLUTD pic.twitter.com/r4yGKm4EtI— xylph (@aufcXylph) May 14, 2023
Well, he went ahead and did the thing, so good for him. We all hope there’s more to come from him this season where hopefully a healthy Giakoumakis can help.
Luiz Araújo with this beauty pic.twitter.com/qo5oR1vhul— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) May 18, 2023
Shoutout Ronald Hernandez and Brooks Lennon
Tough situation for Hernandez and a great game. He helped very much in securing the clean sheet that Pineda was ever so proud of after the match. It’s only possible to do that if you’re a really top professional, and Hernandez has shown that.
Brooks Lennon, meanwhile, is racking up the assists. He added two more last night to bring his season total to six, good for second on the team behind Almada. It was his third career multi-assist night.