Atlanta United came out of the funk in a big way on Saturday by blowing it up Chicago fire, 4-1, in a convincing victory at home. Unfortunately, the impressive result was once again marred by a season-altering injury. MLS Best XI player and US international Miles Robinson walked off the field after 15 minutes, apparently with a leg injury. Sour note though, there were finally some positive notes to take away from Five Stripes’ win, so let’s take a look at them.
One of the big differences between this game and the previous one is the urgency and directness with which the team played. Instead of just having possession and hitting the ball across the field, they immediately looked back for a pass once the ball was recovered. The precision of play in the quick preparation of the opening goal was a direct result of not allowing the Chicago defense line to stabilize. The disorganization and confusion enabled Ronaldo Cisneros to find a gap and overcome the offside streak after a superb pass from Luis Araujo.
It’s these kinds of sequences that we haven’t seen a lot of from this team. While they were creating chances, many of them were of low quality against a defense group. Urgent mindset has paid dividends overnight for a backline struggling to keep up.
With no news of Joseph Martinez’s recovery and transfer window Closed until summer, it appears to be the Cisnero pilot attack ship. His MLS breakout moment couldn’t have come at a better time for the Five Stripes who were desperate for a pivot point to emerge. The first half trick was a way to prove yourself to the fans and the front desk that you belong on the field. In the Mexican striker’s defense, service towards him has been missing since his arrival in Atlanta. This match really showed that he could be an offensive threat if all his fellow attackers were on the same page and put him in dangerous areas.
It remains to be seen if Cisneros is a long-term or long-term solution to the attacker’s vulnerability, but for now it can take on the job and work with it if it continues to make that kind of impact.
Losing Miles Robinson for any length of time would be a huge blow to any team he plays for. As of this writing, the extent of the center back’s leg injury is not known. However, being away from the playing field is never a good sign. If Miles has to miss an extended period of time, Atlanta is in big trouble. Alex De John did a great job facing Chicago, but he’s not exactly the player you want on a regular basis. George Campbell, who is currently out of action due to injury, struggled with himself while on the field. No matter how you replace the mileage in the lineup, there will be a noticeable drop in quality. They just have to hope the diagnosis is positive, and if not, another potential item is immediately included in their summer transfer to-do list.