Atlanta United lost 3-1 against Philadelphia Saturday evening. The defeat by the Five Stripes dropped the team to third place in the Eastern Conference, with the Union and NYCFC ahead of them by three and two points respectively.
Here are my three thoughts on the match:
I guess the good run had to end sometime
Atlanta United had seven wins and one loss in a crucial month of August. Why was it crucial? Well, because Atlanta had an opportunity to win two trophies and at the same time, they had to keep pace with the rest of the Eastern Conference in order to improve its playoff opportunities.
Sitting here in the month of September, Atlanta did win both trophies, qualified for the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League and is just three points behind first in the Eastern Conference.
The Five Stripes also earned huge road victories in Portland and Orlando, a feat not many teams around the league are able to accomplish.
Much needed break
United will now enjoy a two-week break due to the FIFA international break. This rest will allow the players to recharge their batteries and thus prepare for the last month of the regular season.
With a short distance between the top three teams in the Eastern Conference, it will be very important for Atlanta to not drop anymore points and hope that Philadelphia and NYCFC slip in their next couple of matches.
If Atlanta wins out the rest of their matches, it will give them a chance to reclaim the top spot in the East. With the playoff format this season consisting of just one match, winner advances, finishing with a higher seed can be the difference between playing a playoff game at the Benz or traveling to New York and playing at Yankee Stadium.
Josef Martinez is near a world record
Martinez has now scored in 13 consecutive MLS matches, which puts him in third place in the world in all-time scoring streaks. Ahead of him sits Tor Henning Hamre, who scored in 15 straight matches in 2003 and the all-time record holder: Lionel Messi.
The Argentine player scored in 21 consecutives matches for Barcelona in the 2013-2014 season.
Also, Martinez and LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic are currently tied for second place in the top goalscorer list with 23 goals each, sitting four behind LAFC’s Carlos Vela.