Another Road Trip - Another Poor Result. A Few Things For Atlanta Manager Gonzalo Pineda.
Two weeks ago, I posted my predictions with Atlanta's run up to the Eastern Conference playoff line. I was incorrect with my predictions as the Five Stripes lost midweek at Philadelphia and yesterday in Portland. No points in a desperate situation to get results as the regular season comes to a close. I am maxed out with assessing the injuries, the player pool, and the front office - so I direct this post to Atlanta Manager Gonzalo Pineda.
Gonzalo, I have previously posted this statement and will do so again for the last time: "Doing the same thing over and over again without a result is insanity." Explaining to the media, partners, and the supporters that you are disappointed with the result and that "we have to trust the process" is no more than shrug-your-shoulders rhetoric. After twenty-nine games, you have figured out that the system that you enjoy and want to employ game-in and game-out has not worked. Change the system, change the the players, play a 4-4-2, try anything other than what you have put out on the field. You owe that to the front office, the club's partners, and sponsors, and most importantly the 17's.
Gonzalo, your players, as good as some of them are individually, are not good enough to play with incessant possession and work the ball from the back. Plain and simple, they are not. I know you are a metrics and analytics manager, but even the people at GE, who live their business processes from analytics, can tell that your team has no business with ball retention. Case in point: I counted six times in the first eighteen minutes your side losing possession in the defensive or middle third. That is unacceptable.
Gonzalo, injuries have decimated the spine of the team. Brad Guzan, Ozzie Alonso, Miles Robinson, and other injuries certainly have a cause and effect with defensive performance. So be it, and you have tried to manage through those issues with a variable back three or four. The dynamic question is the team's inability to create and finish shots on goal. Leading the league in possession and total shots actually has had an inverse relationship to winning games - and you are twenty-nine games into the season. How many times yesterday was a ball served from the flank, and little to no Atlanta players were anywhere near zone 17? Count the number of one-twos that happened in and around zone 14...nominal at best.
Gonzalo, I am no one to pick apart a player situation but why Franco Ibarra instead of Amar Sejdić? While Sejdić has played many minutes recently, was this game, a must-win, time to start Ibarra? The front office called Ibarra a number eight the other day. Seriously? If Ibarra is a #8, I am the second coming of Rivaldo.
Gonzalo, i do not know you and have nothing against you - your pedigree as a player and assistant under Brian Schmetzer speaks for itself. The Five Stripes have had three manager changes in three years - please do not be the fourth. If you were managing a business enterprise, you would change it up - the so-called pivot. Show all of us, in these last five games, that you are willing to mix it up and impose your will on the performance of the team and the individual players.
Gary Levitt @gary11213 justmytake.net
photo credit: Dirty South Soccer