After not being in action for close to two weeks, thanks to stadium delays and such, Atlanta United got back in action in a mid-week trip to Washington, DC to take on this season’s Achilles heel in DC United.
In the form of whatever game plan DC head coach Ben Olsen came up with in the form of a clunky, atonal, chaos-theory poster child of a 1-0 win for the Eastern Conference cellar dwellers. No, this is not the same DC United team that has wallowed in the basement of the east for this MLS season. But this also was not the time for a clunker to pop up on Atlanta United’s dossier for 2017.
Nevertheless, it did on an own goal off the captain.
The first 30 minutes, Atlanta United looked engaged- as they tried to negotiate the odd confines of RFK Stadium and the chunky turf that goes with it. But, the team could not and did not respond to the moment put in front of them and their number was had by DC United. Again. So, then, the question arises.
Did the two weeks off create this problem?
“I don’t think so,” midfielder Jeff Larentowitz said. “Once we got out there, you could see it early on, we were creating chances.”
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan agreed:
"“I thought the first 35 minutes we looked really good, really sharp. Then D.C. obviouslycame into the game a little bit, created a few chances and then, as they say, goalschange games.”"
One guy might have figured our the 5 Stripes
DCU head coach Ben Olsen.
"“Obviously, they’ve got some great weapons. They’re as strong of an attacking team asthey come in this league and it’s always a matter of how you deal with their aggressionand strength in the wide positions…you have to smother players like Almirón. It’sall about how you deal with their transition game and whether we could punish them forbeing aggressive. I thought the offensive side of our game was good. We picked ourspots and could have had a goal or two in the first half. We had a good start to thesecond half and we came out with a lot of energy. Once the game started to open up,we had a lot of composure and were disciplined defensively.“Overall, it was a good and selfless performance from the group.”"
But the man of the match for DC was one of the new guys that will be a part of the process when thy move into Audi Field next season.
Let’s go back to the goal again and follow along from the initial shot to the back post movement that created the chance and the bump by Michael Parkhurst into the back of the net for the only goal of a stop-and-go match.
“We came out strong,” Canouse said after the match. “We pressured as a team and closed some spaces down, we countered quickly, had some options in the box, which opened space for me at the top of the area to take a touch and get that shot off. Credit everyone, we all fought hard from the beginning.”
His new teammate saw something as Canouse was the leading passing percentage (on 33 pass completions) and tackling leader in his first MLS start.
“He’s gaining confidence game by game,” Paul Arriola said. I’ve known him forever, he’s been a great player. Sometimes all it takes is being in the right environment for a player to really push
himself to get to the next level and I think Russ is showing the quality he has now.
“Russ is a hard worker as well. He’s in there to run and make tackles and challenge. Then, with the ball he’s a good passer.”
So, now what?
One is a clunker, two is a trend, three is a cause for concern.
Most Atlanta United fans have put this one in the rear view mirror and can’t get out of DC any faster than their rental cars can take them. As those rental cars head to Chester, Pennsylvania for the back-end of the weekend two-fer and another team below The Red Line in the Philadelphia Union.
Atlanta United fans, what do you have to say about the boogeyman that is DC United?
Log into the Comments Section below and let us know as you head to Philly for the weekend and hover right at the edge of the Red Line in the East.