Two games in, Atlanta United doesn’t look like an expansion team

Dashing through the snow. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP)

Not all expansion teams are created equal. Atlanta’s MLS franchise is not to be confused with Minnesota’s, although both are named “United” and both have played two games.

Atlanta United has scored seven goals and won once. Minnesota United has yielded 11 goals, hasn’t won yet and mightn’t for a while. Atlanta United beat Minnesota United 6-1 in the snow — yes, the snow, with players wearing shorts and all — on Sunday. It was #ATLUTD’s first victory. The wait for a second shouldn’t be all that long.

The suspicion coming into Year 1 was that Atlanta, owing to shrewd management by Darren Eales and especially the hiring of Tata Martino as coach, was smarter and therefore better than the average startup. That belief was supported by the team’s strong effort against the New York Red Bulls in the opener at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Atlanta led 1-nil and could have killed the game. That it didn’t drove home a basic soccer lesson: If you have a chance to put a good team away, you’d best not flub it.

On Sunday, Atlanta put a bad team away before halftime. It was 3-nil after 27 minutes, 6-1 at the end. Striker Josef Martinez and midfielder Miguel Almiron — both of whom missed gilt-edged chances against the Red Bulls — scored five goals. Then again, Minnesota’s defending was shambolic. (That’s a British term; it means as it sounds.)

A word of slight warning: After Saturday’s match against the Chicago Fire here, #ATLUTD won’t play another home game until April 30. That’s what happens when you’re borrowing a stadium. Georgia Tech needs its facilities for spring practice in the other brand of football. Playing at home is a big deal in every sport; in soccer it’s massive.

If nothing else, Sunday’s waltz in the snow allowed Atlanta United to take a deep breath. The first three points have been secured. The first two games have passed, and results have been encouraging. Those on the inside believed this was capable of being a solid team from the get-go. We on the periphery have seen nothing to disabuse us of that notion.

Soccer scribbles:

Ouch. Barcelona works a wonder, cites Super Bowl as inspiration.

Atlanta United lost on the scoreboard. It won everywhere else.

A rousing debut for Atlanta United, this city’s team of the future.

Startup Atlanta United hires a big-time coach.

Oh, and if you haven’t entered Bradley’s Bracket Fiasco — different sport, I know — please do.

Reader Comments 0

5 comments
daemonova
daemonova

they beat an expansion team in the snow, lets calm down

AMFILMSHD
AMFILMSHD

@daemonova the team is solid and the manager is first class.  they will be .500 or better this year.  scoring and goal differential will aide the club later on.  so, don't be a party pooper, daemonva.  the quality of players is better than half the league, and i have MLS direct kick and i have seen every game, and i think we can beat seattle, LA, chicago.  our defense will get better and the keeper will get better with US MNT gk guzan coming.

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

If I were Ga Tech, I'd find another place for my football team to practice in March and April...the crowds coming into these games are great for the campus (I assume they're getting direct payments from the team plus things like parking revenue) and really great for the businesses around the campus  (did you see the Varsity?)...a team practicing months ahead for their first game could surely find a different place to practice 1 day a week. 

tyler_durden
tyler_durden

Martinez and Almiron are worth every penny...this is going to be a big deal folks...jump on the bandwagon now...