A new year means making new resolutions for the year. We can all agree that the past year was tough for the Five Stripes, but it was a necessary reality check. A challenging year, but a lot of lessons have been learned. Moving forward, here is the list of issues to resolve in order for the team to return their winning ways.
A SOLID BACKLINE
There is nothing that needs to be fixed more than this. The latter half of the season involved a total defensive breakdown. In just 11 games, Atlanta managed to concede 15 goals, which is just not acceptable for a team of that caliber. Hopefully, Fernando Meza can stay healthy and integrate well with the other defensive stars that include Miles Robinson. Defense helps to win championships, and we hope 2021 will show a defensively-strong Atlanta United team.
The attacking style in the 2020 season was a problem, but not as big of a problem as many saw it. Sure, they weren’t scoring goals, but the team was dominant in other aspects of the attack. In most of the games, when they had possession, they had more shots; the problem was what they did or didn’t do with the ball. The most important part was actually scoring. With the loss of key players Pity Martinez and Ezequiel Barco, we hope the new signings who showed their attacking talent, step up to the challenge. Of course, we hope Josef Martinez returns to top form and is able to get his groove back. Hopefully, Atlanta United becomes the old attacking force that opposition defenses feared, in the 2021season.
A FIT AND HEALTHY SQUAD
While most of the 2020 season’s overall performance was poor, the team failed to really stay fit and healthy. Players were constantly injured, especially crucial players who were significant pieces of the starting lineup. It may not account for all of last year’s disappointments, but there are always the “what if” scenarios had they stayed healthy. Although injuries are bound to happen, mainly because of the physicality of the game, the club should have depth. This brings us to our final wish for the new year.
Yes, big pieces of the team were out last year. Yes, the team wasn’t at full potential, but this is the reality of soccer. Things don’t always go smoothly and there will be injuries and unforeseen things will happen. The hallmark of any great team is in its depth. Being able to field players and rotate lineups are crucial aspects of the game that are often overlooked. A great team can learn to adapt and keep moving, which was missing in 2020. Yes, Josef Martinez is an irreplaceable player, but at the end of the day, it’s a team sport and it takes a team to win.
Hopefully, in 2021, we can have a deep team that can compete at the highest level week in and week out.