Atlanta United picked up another three points on Saturday against Real Salt Lake to complete a nine point week. See what we learned.
Atlanta United won big on Saturday night against Real Salt Lake, posting their third win in seven days. With nine points in one week, Atlanta now have 63 points through 30 games. The Five Stripes are inching closer to winning the Supporters’ Shield and have a huge match next weekend against their closest competitors, New York Red Bulls.
It was a night full of firsts for Atlanta. George Bello made his first career start, Jose Hernandez made his first team debut, and the team rolled out a “new” formation (more on that later). The team played in front of a crowd of 72,000+ people and grabbed another clean sheet in the process.
See what we learned from Atlanta’s big win on Saturday night.
5. Weird formation again
In San Jose, Tata Martino rolled out a 4-3-3 formation in a huge-come-from behind 4-3 victory on the road. You can read more about that here. Essentially, the formation did not work in San Jose and led to nearly four goals conceded. Against RSL though, things were completely different.
There were a couple of changes from Wednesday night’s 4-3-3 to Saturday’s 4-3-3. The biggest one occurred on the back line, where Michael Parkhurst sat for the night to rest. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Franco Escobar created the center-back pairing for the night, while Darlington Nagbe started in midfield after taking Wednesday night off.
Atlanta’s 4-3-3 worked wonders against RSL on Saturday night. Atlanta scored twice, created many opportunities on goal, and kept RSL off the score sheet. The midfield was also much more in control against RSL. Although that can probably be attributed to Nagbe’s presence on the pitch, it was a significant improvement nonetheless.
Julian Gressel started Saturday at right back instead of right mid, which is where Nagbe started. Eric Remedi started at left mid for both games and Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez, and Hector Villalba comprised the team’s attacking three. Chris McCann joined Parkhurst for the night off, leaving a talented youngster to start at left back.