Atlanta United FC Needs a Slump Busting Win Badly

Atlanta United FC, Brad Guzan (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Atlanta United FC, Brad Guzan (Photo by Azael Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Atlanta United FC remains winless on the season, after a 2-nil defeat in Columbus, Ohio against the Crew. The team needs to win soon in order to boost morale of the club and its fans.

Atlanta United FC fell to defeat for the second time this season. This time the loss came against the Columbus Crew, at a rainy Mapfre Stadium. In fact, the game had to be delayed around the 30th minute, due to severe weather and lightning. The Five Stripes gave up goals in the second and 39th minute of the match. The goals were scored by forwards Pedro Santos and Gyasi Zardes respectively.

Atlanta United FC was held scoreless, despite possession of the ball for 54 percent of the match. The Five Stripes also attempted more shots, doubling up Columbus 16 to eight. In addition, Atlanta attempted more shots on goal, out shooting The Crew five to three. Yet the out of synch five strips were unable to find the back of the net on any of these attempts. A complete report of the match by Reuters, via ESPN, can be found by clicking here.

The highlights, or rather lowlights of the match, come to us via the Official YouTube channel of Major League Soccer. Check them out below:

The loss in Columbus marks the second time this MLS season, that Atlanta United FC has been shout out. They were also shut out by Mexican Champions Monterey, who eliminated Atlanta from the Concacaf Tournament of Champions. The Five Stripes have also failed to score two or more goals, in three of their four MLS matches. They have scored under two goals in seven of the eight combined matches that they have participated in this year. Atlanta United FC hasn’t put on a great offensive performance, since beating Heridiano 4-nil in the first round of Concacaf.

Atlanta has struggled to score, registering just two goals in the 2019 MLS season this far. Last season’s MVP and Golden Boot award winner forward Josef Martinez has one of those two goals, and midfielder Ezequiel Barco is responsible for scoring the other goal. South American Player of the Year Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez, has yet to be an adequate replacement for MVP runner-up Miguel Almiron. Almiron was sold to English club Newcastle, for a record transfer fee of 27 million dollars. Pity Martinez has yet to score a single MLS goal. More importantly, he hasn’t even recorded an assist, despite passing being his strong suit. Instead, midfielder Julian Gressel has assisted on both goals that the Five Stripes have score so far this season.

Atlanta United FC now sits with a record of 0-2-2 on the 2019 MLS campaign, under new manager Frank De Boer. With two points, Atlanta is last on the Eastern Conference table. Only three MLS clubs, have less than two points on the season. This is starting to become more and more concerning.

The most worrisome thing about the slump, is the fact that the Five Stripes are suffering a similar fate to clubs at the previous two stops of Frank De Boer. He was fired from Italian Club Internazionale Milano just 85 days into a three-year contract. His stint with Crystal Palace FC, a London-based Premier League club, was also short. He lasted just seven weeks on the job there. The common factor in both of those managerial stints, is his clubs lack of ability to score. This is also the main issue with Atlanta United FC on the season thus far. Frank De Boer’s success as a manager of AFC Ajax in Amsterdam, seems like a distant memory now. In fact I wrote an article here on Atl All Day about the gamble that Atlanta was taking in hiring De Boer. Click here  to view the piece.

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All is not lost yet for Atlanta United FC. It is not quite time to push the panic button. However  manager Frank De Boer must quickly diagnose the scoring problems and make the required changes to the lineup. More importantly, Gonzalo Martinez and Josef Martinez must get on the same page. The Five Stripes need the two Martinez players to form a dynamic duo, that is at least near the level of last year’s deadly combination of Josef and Almiron. A win would do wonders for the moral and confidence of Atlanta United FC and their fans. A win in which Atlanta scores three or more goals, would be just what the doctor ordered. April 13 against the 1-3-1 New England Revolution, at Gillette Stadium, would be a great place for Atlanta United FC to start the turnaround.