Where are They Now?
With about ⅓ of the season over, it’s easy to think that Atlanta United has not really looked like their winning selves in their last 3 games, losing 2 out of the 3. However, Atlanta sits in 1st place in the Eastern Conference standings of the MLS (Major Soccer League) and are still contenders for the Supporter’s Shield, the annual award that’s given to the MLS team with the best regular season record. Not to mention, if they continue to play and win like they know how to, they can keep the top spot in the conference and get the #1 playoff seed for home advantage that will pay off come play offs.
Despite the last stretch of games, Atlanta United still has one of the most consistent records in the MLS. Even with factors like injuries and other forms of casualties, when Atlanta’s needed back up, they were able to get it either from their bench or from their USL affiliate team, ATL UTD 2.
With time comes wisdom, and compared to the inaugural season, Atlanta has improved in every single aspect this year. Attack, Midfield, Defense, you name it. Over the primary transfer window, Atlanta United acquired Darlington Nagbe who’s been a great asset so far, making his presence undeniable on the pitch, even though Atlanta took a hard hit by losing Carlos Carmona who helped guide things in the back line. With the young core Atlanta United has, every single player on the usual starting XI hasn’t even come close to what their potential is. Prime example: Miguel Almiron. While the spotlight has been on Barco (played 7 games and scored 3 goals), let’s not forget how much Almiron has improved in the last year. Miguel Almiron has taken the role of the playmaker for the Atlanta United team and has done so with composure and skill of the likes the MLS is not used to. More so, he’s provided the firepower Atlanta’s needed at times to get the offense to look what they look like today.
Their Loss, Our Win
The MLS is home to a handful of players on double duty who not only represent their club but also represent their country. Being that this year is a World Cup year, Atlanta United is one of the fortunate teams that does not have to really be concerned about international breaks, yet. Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez both get called up to represent their countries of Paraguay and Venezuela regularly in the CONMEBOL (South American) qualifiers, what some consider to be the most competitive qualifiers in the world. This year, however, neither Paraguay or Venezuela were able to qualify which gives them an edge over teams like Orlando City and the Portland Timbers, both of which have had to deal with key players reporting back to their home countries to represent them in the biggest stage of all, the 2018 FIFA World Cup (Yoshimar Yotun and Andy Polo, respectively).
The time is now to kick it into high gear and build on the success that’s been accumulated!
Arturo Principe | @ArturoPrincipe1