Not amazing, but not terrible.
Atlanta United played the New England Revolution to a 2-2 draw on Sunday afternoon inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Two clubs with tons of talent struggling for results both scored some sensational goals, but were only able to split the points. As with seemingly every Five Stripes game in 2022, there were some positives to take away from this result, but also some negatives. Here are a few thoughts on the match.
After a slow start production-wise, Atlanta United’s record signing Thiago Almada is starting to show why he was so highly sought after by clubs all over the world. The Argentine dynamo now has goals in back-to-back games and would’ve had more to his name against New England if not for Matt Turner. His curling, long range goal was a thing of beauty and he’s beginning to put his mark on the game more and more.
Almada finding some consistency on both the impact and production side is a massive key to success for Atlanta this season. If he can keep producing moments of magic and making players around him better, the club will benefit tremendously. While there are still some chemistry and stylistic issues with Atlanta’s three attacking midfield stars, Almada is slowly but surely becoming the star player this team desperately needs. It’s just a matter of doing it on a consistent basis and not going missing for large chunks of time like he was early in the season.
There are still several things to complain about with this team as far as set piece defending and incompatibility in the attack. However, praise must be issued when they pull of something truly special like they did for the game-tying goal in the second half. The team play, interchanging and execution on Luiz Araujo’s goal was a thing of pure beauty. Moments like this are proof that chemistry is a massive aspect of this team and how they play under Pineda. We can only hope to see more and more fantastic pieces of play like this as the players get more comfortable playing together.
Again, consistency is the name of the game. Having highlight reel moments is great, but until they can continuously play together as a cohesive unit in attack they will struggle to get results.
Like it or not, the injuries sustained by this squad are devastating. Losing Miles Robinson for a long period of time is specifically detrimental to the team’s hopes in 2022. Thankfully, the season is long and the club have a chance to retool when the transfer window opens in the summer. While it’s an extremely difficult notion to wrap our heads around as Atlanta United supporters, the best thing the team can do right now is continue to tread water and grind out as many points as they can to get themselves in position for a late-season push up the table. If they can continue getting results and not stray too far away from the playoff line, they’ll be a good position once they have a chance to fill some holes on the roster in the summer. There is plenty of evidence out there to suggest that a few signings can turn a team’s fortune around in the second half of the season. Pineda knows this all too well as his Seattle Sounders teams are a prime example. So, a draw at home against a team below the playoff line may not be ideal, it’s something we’re going to have to be patient with and accept in this current state.