This past Saturday Atlanta United got their first victory at home vs. the Colorado Rapids in a 1-0 result who rocked their King Peach kits for the first time at Mercedes-Benz Stadium this season. The roof was open and the atmosphere inside the Benz, combined with the nice and sunny weather in the air, made it a perfect and comfortable night for soccer in the south. That was probably the best and most interesting part of the whole match… I mean this game had everything but excitement and entertainment. Yes United won and we were all saying Thank God! or Finally!
After Julian Gressel scored to give United the lead 1-0 in the 75th minute after a very long and rough first and early second half for the team. But let’s remind ourselves for a minute and think, this was the worst team in the league that we came up against allowing over 23 goals in 8 games, the most in MLS, and had, statistically, the worst defense on the field so far this season. Yes we got the most important 3 points and victory, but honestly this was as far away of a convincing win as you can get. Even destroying the Rapids by winning 3-0 or 5-0 still would not be that convincing, but it would’ve been a lot better. We are capable of doing this to teams that are the lowest of the low and the highest of the high, we have the talent of the players and passionate support of the 5-Stripe fanatics at every home game, unfortunately right now we are facing endless obstacles of changes that must be fixed and stated at some point, this cannot continue for very long.
This club has a high demand for achievement and success, that means battling to win championships and trophies every season and if that’s not our #1 goal for each season than whoever is in charge needs to go. I’m not calling for FDB to get the boot, at least not yet, but he needs to start turning things around as impatience and frustration is mounding fast.
On to the match recap, the first half all in all fairly was lacking many great chances for both teams with the occasional shot off goal and shot on goal every 10 minutes or so, basically it was pretty boring and hard to watch without falling asleep on the couch. Early in the second half United finally started to create chances to score with crosses being flown into the box from opposite sides of the field, but it lacked the final finish as United got close to goal.
A very interesting moment in the game was when Pity Martinez was subbed off around the 70th minute and Tito Villalba was coming on set to replace him, he seemed to be frustrated with De Boer’s substitution that he decided to take him off. Overall, Pity didn’t make much of a impact in the match so De Boer decided it was time to change things up, but Pity was unhappy and barking mad when coming off the field. He immediately went straight to the bench, ignoring Tito who was coming, and expressed his frustration. It was unknown if he was mad at De Boer for subbing him off or if he was disappointed in his below average performance in the match, but it was likely a mixture of both.
Questions after the game arose after that situation happened and why was Pity frustrated so much, but I think his emotions expressed a sign of a player who cares about his team and wants to give his maximum best effort every time he steps on the field, all he needs is time. Pity obviously is struggling to transition into MLS, but after all he is coming from another country in Argentina which has a different style of play and tactical performance there. His South American teammates know what he’s going through because they had to as well when they came to Atlanta, transition in a new environment is not as easy as it seems, but I believe he will bounce back and show off his capabilities to the rest of MLS and the world that he is a possible star rising.
Back to the match recap. United’s only goal came in the 75th minute when Darlington Nagbe intercepted a Rapids defenders pass and without hesitating a second, ran into the 16 yard box, passed and split through 2 defenders in his way and crossed the ball towards Julian Gressel where he came in to stretch out his leg and provide the tap in off the post to give Atlanta United the lead and seal off the match. Later in stoppage time Tito Villalba had a great chance to double United’s lead, but his bending shot came off the far post and was cleared away by the defense, a really unlucky miss for Tito who has been playing well to start off the season.
In the end though, Atlanta got the 3 points and that’s all that mattered, time now to flip the page and focus on our next matchup on the road vs a difficult Sporting Kansas City side Sunday, May 5th with kickoff time scheduled for 9 P.M. with the game being televised live on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes. VAMOS UNITED!
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Edin Pelja |@Julio_Goat Twitter | @ATLSportsHQ Twitter/IG
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