Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
You’re not supposed to lose ugly
This game was almost enough to make me think tennis is entertaining. In fact, at least on the Atlanta United side of the ball, it’s a stretch to call it a game. Instead, it was a disorganized mess. So much so that it almost defies analysis.
The 3.86 Stripes (I’ll explain that one a bit further on) were outplayed in every aspect of the game. To start, they gave up a 13.6% possession advantage. They were outshot 18-12, and 6-2 on target. They were outpassed, outtackled, and, perhaps most importantly, outdefended.
What’s worse, the Seattle Sounders didn’t exactly impress with the quality of their performance either. If this was a mediocrity competition, Atlanta were the winners, but Seattle made it a close-run thing. In fact, Atlanta has Harry Shipp to thank for keeping them more or less in the game through the first half. Shipp had 5 attempts on goal before he finally found the net, and most of them looked like he was channeling Scott Norwood.
Here’s how organized the two teams were:
Seattle is on the left. Both teams played out of a 4-2-3-1. Granted, Atlanta shifted to a 3-man back line late to try to rescue a point, but that shouldn’t affect the average positions that much. No evident formation at all for Atlanta, and Seattle’s positioning looks like it was designed by Boeing.
And here’s what they did with it:
In the end, the three goals scored in the game were two moments of individual brilliance, and one bone-headed error on Atlanta’s part. Not much entertainment value for 90 minutes really.
Anyway, that 3.86 thing: Last game I noted that with the Open Cup win Atlanta’s schedule has become even more compressed. But in reporting that, I had forgotten the Campeones Cup game on August 14th. That extends the tough schedule to 14 games in 54 days, or 1 every 3.86 days (not including the All-Star Game on July 31st). if Atlanta advances to the Open Cup final, held the last week of August, they will have played 17 games in 67 days, or 1 every 3.94 days.
The good news is that Atlanta plays Houston at home Wednesday night. The Dynamo are a miserable 1-7-0 on the road.
Until then, here are the Dirty South Soccer Staff Player Ratings:
GK: Brad Guzan – 6. Brad’s got to be wondering where all those nice clean sheets went. He’s spending most of his time lately picking the ball out of the back of the net. Still, 4 saves in the game.
LB: Brek Shea – N/R. Got hurt in the 4th minute and was officially replaced in the 7th. He’s now out for the year, just as he was beginning to look like a good acquisition.
CB: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez – 4. A terrible afternoon, and he knew it. The look on his face after he gave up the game-winning goal said it all. 5 tackles, 1 interception, 3 clearances and 1 block. And those numbers aren’t up to par either.
CB: Miles Robinson – 5.5. Probably the best of the back line. 1 tackle, 4 clearances and 1 block, including a 25-yard dash to recover and stop Raul Ruidiaz from a near-certain score in the first half. But then Ruidiaz got his own back with a masterful flick over Miles’ head to set himself up for the goal. Also got a yellow card.
RB: Franco Escobar – 4.5. A dubious yellow card, but overall was hardly in the game. Just 2 clearances defensively, and the heatmap above indicates that all the attack was on the left flank.
LDM: Darlington Nagbe – 6. Darlington’s passing was back close to his normal numbers: 42 for 95.2% accuracy. As usual, stuck in the middle third, though.
RDM: Eric Remedi – 5. Not effective at all. Just 28 passes for 78.6% accuracy, and was replaced after 67 minutes.
LM: Justin Meram – 6. No attempts on goal all game, and 38 passes, with 73.7% connecting. Another down game.
CAM: Julian Gressel – 4. Julian is going through a very rough streak. That being said, he had 5 shots, with 1 on target. 30 passes for 76.7%. But he looked completely out of sorts, and very frustrated.
RM: Pity Martinez – 7. 4 shots, none on target, but he got the assist on Josef’s goal with a laser-accurate corner kick. Wait…Atlanta scored on a set piece?
FWD: Josef Martinez – 7. 2 shots, 1 on target, and he was in position to score on several other squandered opportunities (especially from Gressel). As is often the case, looked mad as hell.
SUB: Michael Parkhurst – 4.5. A rare sub in and sub out. Parky also got a relatively rare yellow card for a really dumb obstruction. 1 tackle, 2 interceptions, 3 clearances and 1 block.
SUB: Emerson Hyndman – 5. Replaced Eric Remedi. Managed 7 passes, all on target. None were really dangerous though.
SUB: Brandon Vazquez – 5. Came on for Parky in the 77th minute. Got in just 2 passes.
COACH: Frank de Boer – 6. Not entirely sure what the game plan was, given the mess the team created on the field, but it was not helped by the early substitution.
VAMOS SOUNDERS – 0. Gets my vote for dumbest-sounding chant ever. What’s next: Allez les Rave Greens?