The Stars Align
ATL UTD 2 (1-4-3) get set to participate in their second match in 4 days against Toronto FC II (0-6-2) this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. With last week’s 2-0 loss to the Ottawa Fury FC in Ontario, ATL UTD 2 lost their fourth consecutive match and dropped to 15th in the United Soccer League (USL) Eastern Conference standings. Luckily, Toronto is 16th in the Eastern Conference and is currently the only team lower than ATL UTD 2 in the standings. In dire need of a win, coming home for a match for the first time since April 24th sure feels great.
ATL UTD 2
Two goals within 9 minutes of each other made all the difference in last week’s match and the Ottawa Fury FC walked away with a well deserved win. In that game, ATL UTD 2 struggled with figuring out a way to effectively penetrate the Ottawa defense and after the first 20 minutes, made few solid attempts at goal. Throughout the 90 minutes, Atlanta’s starting XI had trouble dealing with the pressure Ottawa was pressing on them, which made it difficult for ATL to connect passes. With this pressure, ATL players ran out of options with the ball and, in last ditch attempts, sent the ball flying to players that were already in very crowded areas. In short, ATL UTD 2 rarely got to the opposite side of the field and the Fury was the better of the two teams in the end.
Young Team, Big Dreams
To quote Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics’ Point Guard/Shooting Guard) in a recent interview, “We’re just young enough to not care,” when asked about facing Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals. ATL UTD 2 needs to adopt the Jaylen Brown mentality. While this statement has more to do with fear and respect; as a whole, ATL UTD 2 needs to apply this statement to their inaugural season. With each game, Atlanta is learning to play as a team and developing players’ qualities and skills. ATL UTD 2 remains one of the youngest teams in the United Soccer League (average age of 21.4 years old) and has an immense amount of room for growth and improvement. So, even if every match result is not in our favor, we need to look past it and focus on progress.
1st Half First
In their last game, Toronto fell to Penn FC by a respectable 1-0 margin, with the ball hitting the back of the net in minute 87 of regular time, but don’t let the final score fool you. This score becomes even more attractive considering that Toronto was a man down after minute 43 of the match due to a dangerous elbow. With that being said, Toronto can defend when it comes down to it. ATL UTD 2 is going to have to get off to a hot Atlanta summer start and work players up the pitch to get good looks on goal in order to get the upper hand in the first half. Once Atlanta gets off on the right foot, it’s game OVO-ver for Toronto FC II.
My score prediction:
ATL UTD 2: 2
Toronto FC II: 1
Most Dangerous Player:
MDP: Aidan Daniels – 1 goal in 8 apps.
Arturo Principe | @ArturoPrincipe1