Atlanta United can’t get a break. Unfortunately, that seems to be the team’s mantra at the moment among the frustrating injuries and losses. The theme continued this week as Five Stripes traveled to Miami, played some of their best football matches this season, and returned to Atlanta with nothing to show for the problem except for more injuries, you guessed it.
Let’s take a quick look back at the last week in the world of Atlanta United to see you before the game tomorrow against Montreal.
There was a great deal of hope that Atlanta would head south to face Inter Miami in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They just managed a 6-0 win over Chattanooga FCV US Open Cup, so the drought was supposed to end in scoring, right? All signs point to yes, and there was plenty of positivity to build on.
The Five Stripes started the match well, scoring first from a corner kick as Ronaldo Cisneros scored his first goal in the Atlanta United group.
Cisneros continued to play a strong match, and almost lost a second later with such a fine flick.
However, it was all sadly mired in some of the most questionable arbitration decisions by Jair Maruvo in recent history. On two separate occasions, a player from Atlanta United was fouled in the penalty area and neither was awarded a penalty, including this penalty after a VAR review.
What other league in the world does their best to show how bad their referees are, for some cheap sponsorship flicks, with hosts contradicting themselves on a weekly basis? no? Only MLS? Well awesome. # i read # smooth pic.twitter.com/EE0BV8fhju
– Anibal Roldan (latinheat) 25 April 2022
What makes it even more comical at this point is the PRO’s inability to come out and even admit they are blatantly wrong, when an identical (albeit less obvious) foul was called a penalty just two weeks before Justin Meram. If you are interested in this, just take a look at the comments in this tweet.
MIA vs. ATL
The penalty kick not awarded to ATL was reviewed for a foul by MIA #32 (Noah Allen).
After further review, the decision not to award a penalty is in place.
– MLS Video Review (MLSVAR) April 24, 2022
Anyway, horrific horrific decisions aside, Atlanta United created plenty of chances and looked like playing one of the most accurate attacking matches of the season. Defensive errors that turned into goals from Miami would always be a major topic, but it was clear that Atlanta was knocking on the door again and couldn’t finish the game. When one takes into account the potential from two missed penalty calls, and two great chances by Almada and Cisneros, this 4-2 match could easily have been said and done. However, that’s football, and it looks like Lady Luck / Soccer gods / voodoo is out of Five Stripes for now.
As the game progressed, so did the frustration. Gonzalo Higuain bulldozed George Campbell and sent him to the benches, where he was clearly hit by “something”. Campbell was urged by Rob Valentino to finish the remainder of the match due to a lack of subs, and even handicapped Campbell was able to retrieve Higuain in another defensive moment that saw the young Atlanta defender block Higuain’s attack.
But by the end of the day, none of the chances were enough to hit the net, and Atlanta left Miami once again feeling robbed and frustrated.
Speaking of injuries, it was revealed later in the week that Campbell sustained a hijacker injury and will be out week to week. Shortly thereafter, Atlanta United announced that it had put Brad Guzan, Dylan Castanheira and Osvaldo Alonso on its season-ending injury list, creating places for the substitutes. One of those alternatives was already known, but it was officially announced on Wednesday:
Former Atlanta United 2 goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo has been officially signed on loan from Lanus. This leaves a potential goalkeeper depth chart for Bobby Shuttleworth, Rocco Rios Novo, Justin Garces and Vicente Reyes, with Gonzalo Pineda making it stark that there is nowhere in the lock; The competition for the position is important.
Unfortunately, this week’s injury news didn’t stop there. Santiago Sosa and Caleb Wiley were both put on the injury list at the weekend as questionable, and Dom Dwyer (who has not traveled to Miami) and Matthews Rossetto are also listed as suspect.
Santiago Sosa (lower body) and Caleb Wiley (lower body) now appear in Atlanta United’s official injury report on Saturday as suspect.
Dom Dwyer (leg) and Matthew Rossetto (hamstring) are dubious.
– Mike Conti (@MikeConti929) April 28, 2022
Of course there are questions to be asked of the coaching staff. And many people agree that there is terrible luck circulating throughout the club right now. that happens. I don’t know enough about the topic to make any kind of opinion, but I do know that some idiomatic statements are perfectly correct, like “when it rains, it rains”. Until the front office comes out and says anything about the topic of injuries and why they happen in groups, fans, supporters, and the media just have to trust and understand that sometimes “it’s the way it is”.
Now, back in the duo, Noah Cope and David Mejia have both received call-ups for the national team, giving Atlanta better representation on the international stage. Along with Tyler Wolff and others, this list continues to grow.
The duo also went to Pittsburgh last Saturday to play a game against the Riverhounds. The match was another mediocre experience for the young team as they lost 4-0, although it is worth noting that the Riverhounds are a very good team. Atlanta United 2 continues to blend in and force players to play a very disciplined style that may not always be tactical against other opponents, but they look a lot at the bigger picture in terms of teaching these players the next level of the game. If players like Noah Cobb, Efrain Morales, Robbie Mertz and others learn this technique now and feel comfortable playing their game under pressure, it will do nothing but make them more prepared for the next step up into the MLS or another higher league. Although going through this wave of losses is frustrating, the experience they gain is invaluable.
Finally, our youngsters Paulo Neto and Vinnie Leiva are back to fight on the world stage in London for more awards. The tournament started today (at the time of writing) and they have already made the move from the first round against Israeli side Nom esportswinning 5-4 in the opening match back and forth.
The winners and runners-up of this tournament will receive a place in the FIFA eClub World Cup, and the winners will receive $100,000. Lots to fight for, and Neto and Leva are the two guys who will make the run.
The Five Stripes are back tomorrow against Montreal just north of the border, in what is sure to be tough if they keep up their talent to put everything on the table but never find the back of the net. We’ll also be posting right after the match on Twitter Spaces, as usual, so be sure to come in, listen to us, and get into the conversation. We love to hear from you all.
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