Atlanta United vs. Minnesota United Friendly Recap

Atlanta United drew 1-1 today with Minnesota United. The goal was scored by Ezequiel Barco!

After a first half in which Atlanta United dominated, Minnesota United scored their first goal off a penalty which Chris McCann gave up. It was poor defensively by everyone but it was inexcusable for McCann to give up that penalty as the sequence started with a bad pass by McCann. Really makes you question Tata’s decision of playing him instead of the youngster Goslin.

The second goal of the game, first by Atlanta, was scored by the wonderkid Barco and was an incredible display of skill.

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Takeaways (Basically my notes while watching)

1st Half

  • Barco with some nice possession early on
  • A few silly turnovers and misplaced passes the first 10 minutes
  • Leaky defense first 15 minutes
  • Barco had great footwork early and Martinez was open but missed the header. Very poor finishing
  • Short corners continue even though they haven’t worked
  • Communication and chemistry problems still lingering
  • A lot of corners but no end product. Set pieces continue to be a problem
  • After a sub-par performance vs. Crew, Nagbe has played great tonight.
  • A few wonderfully executed counter attacks
  • Calls have been poor tonight. Few missed fouls as well as two missed handballs
  • Barco has been all over the field tonight. Whether it be on the left side, right side, middle, attacking third, or middle third he has done it all. Not sure if that’s him doing it by himself or Tata wanting him to trail the ball
  • Very poor finishing overall

2nd half

  • We desperately need a new 6. McCann isn’t doing well. Goslin needs to play.
  • Barco continues to play well tonight. Almost a goal!

  • Dinladi is way too fast for back line. Back line has shown its lack of speed this year.
  • Way too many chances that Atlanta haven’t finished
  • Garza came out for Mikey Ambrose but he was tremendous. Minnesota couldn’t keep up with him and he created plenty of chances. I was most impressed with how he improved his defensive issues from last year and looked much more comfortable.
  • Escobar makes his debut and Villalba makes his season debut!
  • Escobar and Villalba look well and look like they have pretty good chemistry despite being new teammates.
  • Way too many missed chances tonight

  • Barco, after what many considered a poor performance, continued his great play tonight and scored a wonderful curling shot after some great footwork.
  • Atlanta pushed for a winner after the Barco goal but couldn’t find it despite creating numerous chances.

Player of the Game

Ezequiel Barco

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He played a decent game vs. Columbus but considering his price tag, many believed it was a poor performance. I said after that he’s still getting used to playing for Atlanta and that their are other external factors that could be affecting his play and I think that is still true. Hopefully, Atlanta fans have lowered their standards when considering these things but Barco came out tonight and played wonderfully. He had great possession early in the first half, was energetic on the field, and ran around everywhere. He also showcased some of his trademark dribbling and it even led to a goal. It was a wonderful goal as Barco cut in from the left side and curled the ball into the net fwith his right foot from the left side of the 18-yard box. Barco continues to impress me and all Atlanta United fans should be very excited for his future.

Final Thoughts

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The energy was very much there tonight for Atlanta but a few silly mistakes led to them not being able to come out with a win. The worst thing tonight was missed chances. By my unofficial count, Atlanta United had 20 shots and 12 corners (could be way off) and so we need to finish our chances better to compete in the regular season. Despite the draw, I still thing this was the best preseason game we played and it gave us reasons to be optomistic. Poor finishing, chemistry issues, and poor decision making continue to haunt Atlanta but hopefully the old adage stays true: It’s Preseason.

What’s Next?

The draw brought the Five Stripes to 1-1-1 in the preseason and they have scored 6 goals and conceded 6. Atlanta will face the Charleston Battery on Saturday.

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