Atlanta United lost Saturday night 1-0 to divisional foe’s, New York Red Bulls. With this loss, Atlanta stays towards the bottom of the table, on the verge of slipping out of a play-in game to the playoffs. But what went wrong for Interim Head Coach Stephen Glass and his men?
It’s worth mentioning. Obviously, this Atlanta team misses their star striker, Josef Martinez, who suffered a torn ACL in February. But the attacking core in rotation currently can’t seem to find the back of the net too often. The five stripes produced only x shots on goal. Midfielders Jurgen Damm and Jake Mulraney looked decent, producing some decent crosses, but the ball flew over the box most of the time. The closest the team got to scoring was a first-half shot from Mulraney, which was deflected off the crossbar, but after that, no significant opportunities.
Lackluster 2nd Half
Despite a very uneventful first half, it was clear Atlanta United had the better chances. The team led the half in possession, and it was looking to be a solid night for them. The team that came out in the second half seemed to be a different team. Right off the bat in the 48’ minute, New York capitalized off a corner kick. Caden Clark, on his debut for the Red Bulls, laced a volley right past Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan to score the only goal of the game and ultimately solidify three big points for New York. From that point forward, Atlanta became very content with playing over the top balls to forwards and consistently giving up possession of the ball. This led to a dominating performance from New York, who almost made it 2-0 after a shot crushed the post, and had it been on target, would’ve beat Guzan.
But as I mentioned prior, while Atlanta is having its worst season yet, and a bad one, if I may add, the team is almost brand new from those who won the MLS back in 2018. The attacking core of Martinez and now Newcastle forward, Miguel Almiron is in the past, and it’s time for Atlanta to make some key signings in this early rebuilding stage for the club. Luckily for them, they may have someone who could be very beneficial to the club.
Debuting for Atlanta United Saturday night was Argentinian midfielder Marcelino Moreno. In a game with a lot of downs for the club, this was their glimmer of hope. Moreno used his shifty play on the ball to glide around many of the Red Bull defenders and created some solid chances for Atlanta to score. While they didn’t capitalize in this specific game, it seems Moreno will be a handful for many eastern conference teams. Moreno showed heart, fighting for every ball, even receiving a cut above the eye that sidelined the midfielder for a couple of minutes. He ultimately was subbed off in the 60,’ but Glass has to be proud of what Moreno was able to do at that time.
In the future, Atlanta has some crucial games. Next on the list is none other than Inter Miami FC, a team just below Atlanta in the eastern conference. A couple of games after that stands DC United, who sit dead last. These two games are must-win scenarios for Glass and his men if they want to stay in the playoff hunt and give the loyal fans of Atlanta something to cheer about. In the meantime, for Atlanta United fans, it’s time to sit back and learn to love and enjoy the rebuilding process.