ATLANTA, GEORGIA—Reaching the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference playoffs is considered a blessing and surprise for Atlanta United FC.
Way back in August, United FC’s playoff hopes are considered wishful thinking since the team went 12 matches in a row without a win.
However, with the arrival of head coach Gonzalo Pineda and the team’s change of mindset and plays, United FC was able to turn things around and end the regular season with 51 total points, putting them at fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
As the team prepares for its playoff run let’s try to take a look at some crucial numbers that helped the team book a postseason MLS appearance this year.
Based on the team’s statistics, from Aug. 12, the day that Pineda was hired, to the end of the regular season, the club’s record was 10-3-3, equating to 33 points.
Sources said the point total is tied for the most in MLS during that period.
Data has also shown that in July, the last time it played at TQL Stadium, Atlanta United had 13 points in 13 games.
Since then, the team gained 38 points, including the significant stretch in September when it won four out of five matches.
Since the team entered MLS, there have been only two times United FC has come from behind on the road and walked away with three points.
The 2-1 win over Cincinnati to close out the regular season punched Atlanta’s ticket to the MLS Cup Playoffs last November 7.
The first one occurred in late October when a second-half slot in from Josef Martínez gave Atlanta a 2-1 win over Inter Miami at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The pair of second-half goals led to three points that proved to be important for the team’s late-season run.
Despite his injury, United FC Venezuelan star striker Josef Martinez was still able to produce 12 goals this year from 24 appearances.
The 12 goals he scored this year tied for seventh in the league.
With his solid goal performance, Martinez is a strong contender for the MLS Comeback Player of the Year.
Atlanta United’s defense this year is very solid due to the superb performance of veteran goalie Brad Guzan and defensive specialist Miles Robinson.
Under Guzan’s watch, United FC has a save percentage rate of 77.2%. This rate is the highest in the league among keepers who have appeared in more than six matches.
Since United FC signed forward Luiz Araújo last August 6, the Brazilian made an immediate impact.
In Atlanta’s five October matches, Araújo totaled three goals and three assists across the month.
His six-goal contributions from October until the end of the regular season rank him tied for seventh in all of MLS. From his first match with the 5-Stripes in August, the striker has been an essential part of this team’s turnaround.