Giving up late goals has become systemic with Atlanta United.
A few thoughts as Atlanta United heads into their final two games of the regular season:
There were many people booing at the end of last night's game. Maybe it was due to another late goal given up by the Five Stripes, or the fact that Georgia had crushed Florida earlier and the Braves and Hawks were about to play? Maybe if they were people getting ready for Halloween? The 17's have every right to express their concerns with their team - and it is nothing to make light of.
In light of the recent late-game letdowns, I will take the high road with my late season assessment. Our short memories have wiped out Atlanta's dilemma with the Gabriel Heinze ethos which due to his demands, injuries, and unavailable players unveiled a 2021 team with no attacking style and shape. Rob Valentino stepped into the manager's role and did a tremendous job resurrecting a team full of misery. The hiring of Gonzalo Pineda from Seattle dovetailed with more player availability and the coming of age of Ezequiel Barco, Marcelino Moreno, Alan Franco, Miles Robinson, and Luis Araujo. A more open and aggressive style of attacking and pressing that quickly paid dividends and has allowed the Five Stripes to get into playoff contention.
Can Pineda fix the late game faux paus? He can, and it starts with his attacking contingent to put chances away. Atlanta had nineteen shots on goal last night, but only 4 on goal. Pineda and his staff are good. They are experienced. Most importantly, Pineda may be garnering his troops to peak at the right time for the playoffs, no matter their opponent and no matter if they host that first playoff game.
After thirty-two matches, with two to go, Atlanta is hoping for six points but most likely will be content with four points. Wednesday at the New York Red Bulls will be difficult, different from the last regular season matchup with F.C. Cincinnati. Sure, Pineda is very unhappy that his team has given away thirteen points when leading in the 75th minute, but as we have seen with many MLS teams, and the Atlanta Braves,it is not about how you look like in the regular season. It is all about peaking at the right time in the playoffs.
That is my take. What is yours? @gl1123 justmytake.net
Photo credit: The Atlanta Journal Constitution