Atlanta United took the field for the first official match against another team and won 4-0. I finally had a chance to watch the match today and wanted to provide some thoughts. Duke
There were about 12k fans in attendance to see the boys play this friendly. The crowd was loud. The announcer was trash. I liked what I saw.
It’s always tough to make sweeping assumptions on one game against a team 4 divisions below where you will be all year but this game was 4-0 and it could have been more. Let’s start with the positives….
Chris McCann – Quite honestly, this was the biggest question mark for me. If he can be the anchor in the midfield that opens up so many options for this team. McCann was pinging balls all over the field, at times dropping between the 2 center backs to build from the back. Whether playing short or long, he was the metronome that made this team tick.
Miguel Almiron – Absolute quality here. He single handidly made the first goal expertly carrying to ball some 60+ yards drawing 3 defenders and laying off a perfectly weighted pass to Asad. I believe he only played 45 minutes but from what I saw I was impressed.
Josef Martinez – He played both wide and through the middle. I liked him better at the point of the attack but I can see him playing both with Jones being a monster at times. He took his goal well. He created another chance running at 2 defenders on the break and creating space to get a shot off.
Yamil Asad – 2 goals is self explanatory but it was the way he played with and without the ball that really impressed me. His second goal was world class receiving the ball on the left wing before dropping the shoulder to free up space inside and curling one far post over the out stretched keeper. A fantastic 45 minutes for Yamil.
Andrew Carleton – I REALLY don’t want to overreact based on this game but Carleton is a STUD. Playing well beyond his 16 years of age, Carleton shown bright in a second half that lacked the quality of the first. Confident on the ball and showing great vision, Carleton provided quality and calm from the right side. I tweeted this in late January and I’m feeling more confident about it now.
Depth – What I thought would be a strength did not show itself. There was a significant drop off in talent and fluidity in the second half. There were a few bright spots and you wouldn’t think we’d be changing out 11 players from game to game often but let’s say I’m hopeful but not sure that we have the depth we need.
Leandro Gonzalez Pirez – We didn’t see him challenged often defensively and my guess is that is really what he was brought in to do. Either by design or happenstance Gonzalez Pirez found the ball at his feet quite a few times in the first half. When he wasn’t playing a simple 10-15 yard pass, he looked awful. I’m talking spraying passes 15-20 yards off target. Turning the ball over 4-5 times against an opponent of that caliber is worrying.
Kenwyne Jones – He didn’t do anything particularly bad or good, save for winning the header on CFC’s corner to start Almiron on the break. I didn’t quite see the tactical use of Jones. We rarely got to the end line to serve balls in to the towering center forward. It’s one game…that’s what I keep telling myself.
On the whole it was great to see the boys get out and have a kick. This is the first step on a long journey.