It’s a point won
We’ve said it a million times (and Atlanta United fans know full well) that any points haul in road matches should be considered a success in MLS — it’s only a matter of whether that success is mild or massive. Two weeks ago when the team traveled out to Seattle after a long break in play due to Leagues Cup — that was a massively successful night. This one may be just a minor success, but those three points secured on the west coast help make this road draw against Dallas far more palatable. Because going into that Seattle game, which marked the beginning of a ten-game run-in to finish the year, the team knew its playoff future was not secure. Now, after the team has taken seven points in the first four of the 10-game run-in, things feel less desperate. Whereas once we might’ve looked at a difficult-but-winnable game in Dallas as one Atlanta could/should/must take three points from, bouncing back from a tough home loss on a quick turnaround with a point will do just fine.
We still haven’t seen Atlanta’s Best XI together
Coming off that busy week with three games in a span of eight days, Gonzalo Pineda rotated the team Saturday night — a necessary move after using the same starting lineup three times in a row and facing the deep Texas heat.
But I want to see this team with all it’s new pieces in place. I need it. We have yet to see new signing Saba Lobjanidze, who scored a fantastic equalizing goal against Dallas Saturday, to start alongside Tristan Muyumba, Xande Silva and the rest of Atlanta’s most talented players. Even without Silva and Muyumba in Saturday’s lineup the team clearly still had enough quality to create some chances and score goals. But with all those players together and their powers combined, they could potentially have the ability to thoroughly dominate and dismantle opposing teams, particularly at home.
International break comes at the right time
I know we just got off of the long Leagues Cup break referenced above, but the open weekend on the schedule this week is important for this team. Finally, with the late arrival of Saba, Gonzalo Pineda can work with the group for long grueling sessions on the training ground to help form some cohesion between all the new pieces. It’s funny, because when your team is playing well this late into the season, you typically hate these stoppages in the fixture schedule. But due to Atlanta’s drastic midseason changes, the break provides an opportunity for the team to tangibly improve and become the best version of itself for the most crucial stretch of the season.
Whether he wins the Golden Boot or not, Giorgos Giakoumakis is MLS’s most prolific striker (not including Messi)
Giakoumakis got his name back on the scoresheet Saturday following one of his worst performances in an Atlanta shirt midweek against Cincinnati. After being at or tied for the league lead in goals in recent weeks, he now trails Hany Mukhtar by one in the Golden Boot race. But no matter who ends up putting the trophy on his mantle, GG is the league’s most dangerous forward (not including Messi). Mukthar, who has 14 goals to GG’s 13, and Luciano Acosta — tied with GG — each have scored a whopping five penalties to contribute to their overall tally. Giakoumakis has none. If we judge goalscorers by what they do in open play, GG does indeed lead the league in that category by two goals over Julian Carranza. But even that comparison does not do GG justice, as Carranza has played over 2,000 minutes to Giakoumakis’s 1,300. That’s 42% more time than GG, yet GG has still outscored Carranza this season.
And you can make the same comparison to Mukhtar’s 2,200 minutes, Acosta’s 2,100, etc. No one is coming close to GG’s 100 minutes/goal ratio, and especially without penalties (not including Messi).
What’s great about GG and the reason why he is as prolific as described is his ability to score out of nowhere with one touch. He can be having an awful game in every respect — but hey look he just outmuscled a guy on a corner and got his head to it. That’s how it happens and it is glorious.