This season has been tough for the Atlanta United FC. Although Atlanta had a promising start, recent events and games have led them to this point.
UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT
Following the disappointing performance this season, Atlanta United announced that manager Frank de Boer has agreed to resign. Temporarily replacing him is ATL United 2 head coach Stephen Glass. De Boer’s accomplishments for Atlanta include the U.S Open Cup and the Campeones Cup. He also led the team to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Glass’s appointment is temporary, while the club is in talks with possible replacements. There are many speculations about who would make a good fit with the players, coaches, and the Atlanta United culture. Several names being mentioned include Javier Aguirre, Renato Gaucho, Gabriel Heinze, and Patrick Viera.
Atlanta United has always been known for its attack style of play. During their successful reign under previous manager Tata Martino, the team scored
an abundance of goals. They were one of the top-scoring teams in the entire league, so this style of play has always been in the Five Stripes blood. Under De Boer, his style is focused on defense, and thus proved ineffective with the club not even scoring a single goal yet in the MLS Is Back tournament (July 8 through Aug. 11, 2020). Hopefully, the powers that be select a manager who believes in the attack style that both players and fans have come to love about Atlanta United.
By choosing Glass as the temp manager, it seems the club wants a smooth transition with someone who is already familiar with the players and management as well.
LIVE UP TO THE CLUB NAME
The club’s culture has also been affected, with reports of personality clashes between the players and De Boer. There were multiple player walkouts during practice, which demonstrates that team morale isn’t great. The team chemistry has been missing, which many attributed to De Boer’s playmaking tactics.
Whoever is the next manager for the Georgia-based club must bring back that aggressive, yet united spirit and camaraderie that the team had, and fans absolutely loved.
GO ALL-IN ON DEVELOPING YOUR ATTACKERS
Apart from coaching changes, acquiring new players seems to also be a top priority. With star and fan-favorite Josef Martinez out with an injury, it exposed the lack of attacking power in the team. While Martinez is a top player, a successful club must always have depth and attacking options, rather than relying on one or two players.
Towards that end, Atlanta United recently announced the signing of Erick “Cubo” Torres, which adds a player with attacking firepower, which the team desperately needs. The arrival of Torres, who is described as a “natural goal-scoring forward,” will add a strong addition to the team’s attacking line. Torres, who previously played in the Mexican leagues, is looking forward to this incredible opportunity with Atlanta United and the MLS.
The club also has a new attacking power in Jurgen Damm, a fantastic addition with his endurance and running ability down the right wing. His speed is his greatest strength, and Atlanta United fans can guarantee that Damm can beat any MLS fullback in a race. However, he has been susceptible to making technical errors. The hope is that Damm develops his techniques and improves his decision-making, allowing Atlanta United FC to return to dominating the game.
The club needs to also develop both Pity Martinez and Ezequiel Barco to perform up to expectations. With high caliber players, Atlanta United must tap into their talent. The key is bringing all of the talented individuals players together to form one united team.
BOLSTER THE DEFENSIVE LINE
Atlanta United has also been lacking in defense, as displayed during the MLS IS Back tournament.
Whether it was due to the long break or not, the defense looked extremely sloppy and showed a lack of confidence. It was shocking to see the team’s performance, especially since the defense still had the same core players. Even with Miles Robinson, one of their key defensive players, it seemed they were often getting caught on the counter-attack, exposing the backline’s problems.
The club is addressing the backline issues by signing Argentinian player, Fernando Meza. Meza, age 29, is a centre-back with over a decade of experience playing in the Argentinian and Mexican leagues. His biggest strengths are his confidence in playing out of the back and his balanced ability to track down attacking opposition, tackling, and interceptions.
Atlanta United is also looking to sign a new defensive midfielder, with rumored links to Sebastian Perez, the Colombian superstar from Boca Juniors, and Jonathan Gonzales from Monterrey. While these are just rumors and speculation, it is clear that the club wants to bolster the defense. Atlanta United is looking to find a defensive midfielder that will be the perfect fit to the team.
Atlanta United is making aggressive and positive changes with both coaching and players. Players, coaches, management and especially the Five-Stripes superfans are ready to take back the title of the best team in the MSL…Bring it on!