Atlanta United FC: Saturday Showed ATL To Be MLS Favorites

Atlanta United FC Kevin Kratz (Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Atlanta United FC Kevin Kratz (Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Atlanta United FC (6-1-1) currently has the best record in MLS. Saturday’s performance showed that they are legitimate contenders.

The 5 Stripes put on a show Saturday at The Benz. It was an odd domination, as it wasn’t until late in the second half that things got rolling for Atlanta United FC, but when they did, it was electric. It was the kind of performance that shows that ATL UTD is a legitimate contender this year.

One might look at the Time of Possession stat (73%-27%) and conclude that the final score of (4-1) for ATL UTD should be fairly obvious. And in some ways, that one would be correct. But not entirely.

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For the better part of the first 70 minutes, Atlanta trailed, even after having absolutely dominated TOP and pace of play. In fact, right before the end of the first half, Montreal forced a counter and dude hit a laser that barely went over the ATL net. Guzan would’ve had no chance. The 5 Stripes would’ve have been down (2-0) going into Half, and frankly, would’ve been demoralized. And, rightfully so.

But it didn’t and the home team came out in the 2nd Half looking to continue to press. That, and a couple of timely and impressive substitutions by Tata Martino, Hector Villalba and Kevin Kratz, proved to be the difference.

For most of the match, Montreal was basically playing a 1-9 Defense. To say they were packing it in would be to underestimate what they were doing. And it was effective.

Miguel Almiron tied the game, in the 70th minute, on a PK off of a hand ball penalty, a PK that probably shouldn’t have gone in, but got the job done. Then it was Kevin Kratz’s turn.

There were seven Yellow Cards issued in this game. It seemed like it was getting out of hand. It really did get out of hand thanks to Kratz. Dude hit two of the sickest Free Kicks this writer has seen in a while. After the first one, Almiron and Josef Martinez, doing what they do, went to work.

Still am not sure Martinez meant to back flip the pass to Almiron that led to his 2nd goal of the match, but if he did, that, too, was one of the sickest plays this writer has seen in a while. It was EPL or International level assistance.

I have to say this was the first game this year where I had the fortune to be in the building. And it was awesome. Like most matches in Atlanta, the crowd was up and stayed up the entire match. A great time, in a great venue, watching a great team put on a great performance.

Atlanta United FC head into their May 5th match up with Chicago with the best record in MLS. After watching Saturday live, it is no coincidence.