Andrew Gutman, For The Second Consecutive Game, Rescues The Five Stripes.
Last night's game at Cincinnati's beautiful TQL Stadium again showed us why Atlanta is buried in 13th place in the Eastern Conference. Two defensive errors and the majority of possession, as mentioned a few posts ago, will not always parlay into three points, especially on the road. Here are a few short takes from last night:
Though sitting on twenty-nine points with ten games remaining, there are some positive trends for the Five Stripes. If you feel that possession is a virtue, then Atlanta has won your heart. Unfortunately, possession does not always gain a team three points.
Atlanta's attack has finally gelled with the attacking midfield combo of Thiago Almada and Marcelino Moreno supporting Luis Araujo and Ronald Cisneros. Caleb Wiley and Ronald Hernandez frequently got forward last night, and as mentioned, Andrew Gutman scored the tying goal.
Thiago Almada - he has developed into a classy attacking midfielder, blending the ability to quickly scan, receive, and distribute, as well as finish an opportunity as we witnessed last night.
While Atlanta's front office made the right move by signing goalkeeper Raul Gudino, Rocco Rios Novo's performances will likely keep Gudino on the bench. The 20-year-old, who joined Atlanta from Club Atletico Lanus, put in another outstanding ninety minutes last night, making some outstanding saves while managing his distribution duties.
If not twenty-four games into the season, Atlanta would be trending positive, going 2-1-3 in its last six MLS games. With that said, the Five Stripes sit near the bottom of the table with ten games left.
Atlanta has put itself in a very tough spot, with their remaining schedule a bit problematic, including their next five games. This Wednesday they have the NY Red Bulls at home and four days later go to fifth-place Columbus, who do not have a midweek game. A welcome one-week rest and Atlanta has D.C. United at home, but three days later go to Philadelphia, and then on to Portland. Getting to the seventh spot must have Atlanta earning three points at home, and some type of result with their away games. A very tough road to the playoff line for Gonzalo Pineda and his team.
Gary Levitt @gary1123 justmytake.net
photo credit: Flipboard