It was enough to get the job done, but the level will need to rise to the challenge of the Eastern Conference leaders this week.
GK Rocco Rios Novo 4: The two goals conceded against the league’s last-placed team might not have been all his fault (Ravel Morrison’s volley was ridiculous) but Atlanta’s back line was once again beaten on a simple cross into the box that RRN probably could’ve claimed.
RWB Brooks Lennon 7: Lennon was awarded with two assists and the official MOTM award after Sunday’s game. His ability to get forward, cover ground, and put decent crosses into the box is a huge help to this team which struggled mightily without him.
CB Juanjo Purata 7: Showed up again in the attack with the winning goal — he is a legitimate attacking threat for the team despite playing in a defensive position. Didn’t have a ton to do on the defensive side, but avoided some of the glaring mistakes on the ball that’s plagued him this year.
CB Alan Franco 6: Knocking him a tick for the aforementioned goal conceded on the cross. But overall we’ve seen a pretty dramatic shift in Franco’s form thanks to the consistency he’s been able to establish over the last six weeks.
CB Andrew Gutman 6: Pretty standard solid Gutman game here. His 3 interceptions show how much he’s able to play on the front foot in this LCB position and jump passing lanes. Wa able to get forward and get a couple decent shots off as well.
LWB Caleb Wiley 6: Wasn’t super involved in the game as most of Atlanta’s attack was focused on the right playing through Brooks Lennon and Luiz Araujo. But he was able to be dangerous in some dribbling opportunities moving the ball into the box. And any defensive issues that may have reared their head a couple months ago seem to have been eliminated.
CM Santiago Sosa 7: The Argentine is really rounding into form now and is a rock in midfield. He’s got to be one of the first names on Pineda’s team sheet now, which is great to see. He had the most passes in the game, and was the lone holding midfielder after Sejdic was removed in the 70th minute until Frano Ibarra came on late.
CM Amar Sejdic 7: Basically played the perfect balancing role in midfield to compliment Thiago Almada. He even got a couple shots off from the top of the box, including one where he was unbelievably denied by David Ochoa.
CM Thiago Almada 8 (Man of the Match): Almada is really embracing his role as more of a true central midfielder on this team, as evidenced by an impressive seven ball recoveries in addition to his pair of assists. He’s a complete player and this team’s best player.
FWD Luiz Araujo 7: Araujo can be frustrating at times when things don’t come off for him in some of the most dangerous moments, but that’s the life of a forward. I wanted to rate him lower in this game for exactly that reason, but you look at the numbers he compiles over the course of 90 minutes and his production is undeniable. Yes, he can improve some things in the final third, but he’s basically playing as this team’s winger and striker at this point.
FWD Ronaldo Cisneros 5: He was fine I guess, but you really hope for more out of your starting striker in MLS than a guy who is basically just a work rate player. Cisneros had 17 touches, 10 pass attempts and 2 shots in 60 minutes. There’s a role for this kind of player on a team, but typically not a role that is starting every game. But at this point, Pineda only has so many options.
SUB Josef Martinez 7: Josef looked as potent going forward as we’ve seen since… I don’t know. And that’s not to say he was excellent or unplayable by any means (though DC did their best to not play against him), but just that he was looking more lively. Hopefully his goal can break the seal on his rough scoring form as of late.
SUB Marcelino Moreno 6: Just going to add here that Moreno played a well-controlled game. The moment didn’t require for him to go crazy attacking like he probably wants to be, and he did a solid job that was required of him.
SUB Edwin Mosquera 6: We can see the speed that Mosquera presents and it certainly helps this team. Hopefully his play in the final third can turn a corner, but given his inexperience and jump up in responsibility coming to Atlanta, he’s done a decent job.
Here are your results from the poll. My parting thought is while these ratings feel pretty generous, and the team as a whole needs to step up their level if they hope to take points from the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Union on Wednesday.