Tata Martino has been heavily linked with jobs away from Atlanta United. Unfortunately for the Five Stripes, this is simply a sign of the success they have enjoyed.
It has been quite the run for Atlanta United. They only entered the league two years ago. Last season, they entered the playoffs with high hopes, only to falter on penalties thanks to the plucky Zach Steffen and his Columbus Crew teammates in the opening round.
And again, a year later, they begin preparations for the postseason with confidence high and hopes abounding. Even without a trophy, this has been a uniquely successful start to life for the franchise.
With success, though, come inquisitors, come replicators, come those trying to copy and to steal and to imitate. And that often means that you lose some of the talent that got you there in the first place.
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Often, when teams lose their ‘talent’, we assume that it is the players that are prised away. They, after all, are the ones that are producing on the pitch. But in Atlanta’s case, it could well end up being the orchestrator of their brilliant start to life in MLS, Tata Martino.
Martino, who is a vastly experienced coach at both the international and club level, was a coup for the club when he was first hired. His influence was immediately noticeable, playing with verve, attacking creativity and flair. His tactical nous was evident, he improved players on an individual and collective basis, and he mastered much of the vibrant performances that Atlanta have put together at this early stage.
The success that he has garnered at Atlanta has inspired others to come calling, the most reported being Argentina and Colombia. Martino admitted that he finds the latter attractive, but also stated that a decision about his future has not yet been made:
"“I have not talked to anyone from Argentina. I like it [the Colombia job] a lot because it is a potential possibility to come to Colombia. I am under contract here and when the league finishes, we’ll see what the future holds. I have to resolve my future. In the next 15 or 20 days, I have to determine whether I continue here for two more years or not.”"
Whether Martino does indeed leave Atlanta United or not remains to be seen. It would certainly be a major blow for the club to have to replace a manager that has been so successful. But, unfortunately, it is simply the product of having good seasons.
Like the club will soon experience with both Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez who are pining over moves to Europe, Atlanta must get used to others trying to come and steal their talent, and that includes Martino.
It is, unfortunately, just a byproduct of having success. Atlanta United may bemoan the potential of Martino, but it means that they are doing something right.