With players returning to form after international duty, Atlanta United has a chance to make a run.
Yeah, that was fun.
GK Brad Guzan 5 – Guzan is credited by teammates to a man for being an important veteran leader for this team on and off the field, but it’s hard not to see some moments and wonder if his deputy Alec Kann would’ve been more effective. Maybe most worrying was Derrick Ettiene’s shot that beat Guzan to his near post, but the attacker was ruled to be offside.
RWB Ronald Hernandez 6 – It took a while and a coaching change for Ronald Hernandez to find a consistent run of games, but the Venezuelan has proven to be a suitable stand-in at either fullback spot that can provide decent performances. He ceraintly has his flaws, but his positioning creates width and his willingness to get on the ball and not hide from it is much-needed.
CB Miles Robinson 6 – Miles Robinson made his first post- Gold Cup appearance and it was more of the same consistent play from the Boston native. He was involved in Columbus’ first goal where he was “picked.”
CB Alan Franco 7 – Much better from Franco playing as the central center back in a back 3 compared to the same position he played against Montreal days before. In fact, I’d say it was the best Franco’s looked at any point playing in the position this season. If the communication improves to the point where any of the CBs, but particularly Franco can step into midfield to track a forward at will, it can be a very effective setup for the team.
CB Anton Walkes 7 – This guy is just a rock. While Walkes doesn’t possess nearly the level of pure athleticism he did back as a freshly-minted Tottenham academy graduate in 2017, he’s so smart and a great communicator at the back.
LWB George Bello 8 – Bello wasn’t involved a ton in terms of touches, but when he had opportunities he obviously made them count. His heel flick assist to Barco was the prettiest pass we’ve seen played this season, and it’s a performance that will surely give him and his teammates confidence going forward.
CM Santiago Sosa 7 – Along the same lines as Alan Franco, Sosa looked much more comfortable in a central midfield position with 3 defenders behind him compared to midweek. Maybe those 90 minutes were just the seasoning needed for these players to get comfortable.
CM Matheus Rossetto 8 – Rossetto was one of the big surprises on the night with an excellent display and his finest work in an Atlanta United shirt. He was the perfect connecting midfielder to link the play from back to front. He retained possession in tight spots, and he has a unique ability on the team to put his foot on the ball , “turn on a sixpence” as Darren Eales might say, and find the space to exploit.
Marcelino Moreno 9 – Ezequiel Barco’s big night may have overshadowed just how good Marcelino Moreno was Saturday night in what is now an impressive run of performances from the Argentine midfielder. He led the team with 5 chances created, drew two penalties, all while passing at a 93 percent clip.
Ezequiel Barco 9 (Man of the Match) – It’s hard to say this was anythign but one of the best performances of Ezequiel Barco’s career to date. Coming back from the Olympics, the Argentine is playing like he’s two inches taller, showing a certain confidence and determination Atlanta United fans love to see. He led the team in shots (5) and shots on target (4) on his way to a brace.And late in the game, he was putting his body on the line to chase down opponents and help prevent a late equalizer. (As an aside: I know many will say this was a 10… I just save that number for special occasions that only come around every so often. This one was close though.)
Jackson Conway 5 – While Saturday simply wasn’t Conway’s night. But it was still good to see that despite things not going his way in the attack, his pressing and dirty work throughout the match was a net positive for the team. While we’re all glad Jonathan Mensha appears to be okay, it must be said that Conway’s volleyed strike that hit Mensah square in the face was a moment of brilliant technique. Conway’s ability to strike the ball cleanly in those situations will result in goals. Just give it time.
Cubo Torres 7(!) – Hell yes Cubo! Picking up on the them of Conway’s outing, Cubo Torres did the dirty work the team needed, especially late on, while also being cleaner on the ball than Conway. It’s great to see a player who has struggled so much come through and put in a performance everyone can get behind, even if it was more of an afterthought considering the performances of Barco and Moreno on the night.
Erik Lopez NA
George Campbell NA