After a long break and last Tuesday night's 'friendly' against Pachuca, Atlanta Earns Their Second Win In Their Last Nine League Games.
Led by the attacking duo of Josef Martinez and Luis Araujo, Atlanta United, before a Mercedes Benz Stadium crowd of 42,539, shut out Miami 2-0 on Sunday afternoon. Here are some short takes from yesterday:
Even before Miami's Jean Mota received his second yellow and sending off in the twenty-ninth minute, the Five Stripes' attack was in 5th gear. Led by Josef Martinez and Luis Araujo, who each had a goal and assist, Atlanta's expected goals were 2.13, creating eighteen shots with 60% possession.
In the last few games, the attack looks like they are starting to gel, with the counter-attacking reminding us (to a degree) of the days of Miguel Almiron bursting forward with the ball. Luis Araujo has tremendous pace, often times putting defenses on their heels as he glides through the midfield into the final third. With that said, I refer to philosopher Aristotle, who coined the phrase 'the sum of the parts is greater than the whole." To cut to the chase, Atlanta's individual efforts too often supersede their team play. When Atlanta does put together combinations, even simple one-two's, they are way more dangerous than individual's efforts, especially in the middle third of the field. I am not complaining, just observing.
Franco Ibarra. Maybe because I played the #6 at times in my career, I favor the players who do all the work that goes unnoticed. Ibarra, the youngster from Argentina, was tremendous yesterday. Paired with the experienced Emerson Hyndman, Ibarra held down the midfield, constantly positioned in the right spot, and showing off his ability to get into the tackle, win duels, and lead the press when necessary. Ibarra only has upside, and it will be very interesting to see what happens with him as he gains even more experience.
The youngsters. Sometimes we lose sight of the average age of the player pool. Yesterday's starting eleven averaged twenty-four years old, with goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo earning his first start and shutout at age 20, center back George Campbell, 20, left back Caleb Wiley, 17, and Ibarra at 21 years of age.
The Five Stripes now sit on nineteen points, one point off the seventh-place playoff line. With three road games against Toronto, New York Red Bulls, and NYCFC respectively, you would think that coming back home after these road games with five points would be a success. There is no doubt that this run of away games will a big challenge for manager Gonzalo Pineda and his team.
Gary Levitt @gary1123 justmytake.net
photo credit: OSDB Sports