Injuries And National Team Call-Ups Force Atlanta's Homegrowns To Perform...And They Did.
Last night's Nashville - Atlanta game, from a player standpoint, was a bit surreal. Both teams were missing key players and going at each other for 90+ minutes. I found it very interesting how the Five Stripes played - not so much with style and technical ability, but with a level of full-game tenacity not seen in a long time. It is no coincidence that this high level of work put in by Gabriel Heinze's team was made up of young homegrowns and non-starters, who grinded out a point on the road to a very tough Nashville side.
All of us are, at some level, judged and graded on our performance. Whether it is schoolwork or business objectives, we all are subject to performance standards. If my financials are weak and the company is underperforming, the Board steps in to take corrective action. When I played in college, my coach had no tolerance for ineffective performance. Basically, you performed or you sat on the bench...or worse, he released you from the team. I have nothing against Cubo Torres. He has played at a high level for many years and from what I understand is a huge help to the less-tenured Atlanta United players. What I do know is this: Cubo has not yet scored so far this season in 430+ minutes on the field. Again, nothing against him personally, but he is no longer the answer when Josef is not available.
Regarding Atlanta's front-runners, can Heinze afford not to play Jackson Conway? When Josef's fitness returns, which seemingly would be after the nine-day break, does Heinze stay with one striker on top (Josef) and sit Conway? Does he go to a different shape allowing Josef and Conway to pair together?
The effort, and result put in by the four homegrowns, and more importantly no DP's, was eyebrow-raising. Dovetail that fact with the likes of Alec Kann in goal and Alex DeJohn ending up playing center back and you must wonder about Ezequiel Barco and some of the other players unavailable due to injury or international duty. I'll stand down on further comment on our player pool.
Atlanta has a well-needed nine-day break before they play Bruce Arena's New England Revolution at home on July 17. Hopefully, Josef returns and hopefully Jurgen Damm does not. Does Alan Franco come back from his injury? You can only hope that Franco, as a DP, can add something to support the Five Stripes back line.... and with that said, Anton Walkes is a much better choice.
I would like Jake Mulraney's red card suspension to be overturned. No one saw his tackle as a foul, nonetheless a red card. I do not know what the hell is going on with PRO and VAR - but this nonsense must stop. Then again, if VAR was actually put to use last night, Cubo Torres should have been shown a red for his Gordon Banks antics.
One step at a time. Bruce Arena brings his conference-leading Revolution to Atlanta next Saturday. We can only hope that Gabriel Heinze deploys the players and tactics to earn a much-needed three points.
It's just my take. @gary1123 justmytake.net