Fox Sports ran a headline about Atlanta United stating “These gorgeous goals are the surest sign Atlanta United might be for real.” It’s a sentiment I’ve seen in plenty of other places in the soccer interwebs.
Hold on for a second.
I say that even as the author herself says hold on for a second:
When Atlanta United steamrolled the Chicago Fire on Saturday, there were plenty of reasons to think it might not mean much.
Then, we go back to “Atlanta is the greatest since the ’78 Cosmos!”…Okay, she doesn’t quite say that.
It’s hard not to bet on these guys being a problem for every team they face. Between coaching by Tata Martino, big foreign signings like Miguel Almirón and experienced journeymen that are a cut above the usual expansion draft castoffs, it’s a good team. Still, even though MLS is relatively new, there is a surprisingly long list of successful foreign coaches and signings that couldn’t figure out the league. There are plenty of weeks left in the season for that to show itself.
Also, I’m a bit agnostic when it comes to judging Atlanta by the matches they have played so far. Yes, ten goals in three games is a good start for even perennial favorites. But, let’s take a look at those three matches:
– A 2 – 1 loss to New York Red Bulls. Hey, they scored against Luis Robles a half hour into their first match!
– A 6 – 1 win against Minnesota United in a blizzard.
– A 4 – 0 win against Chicago.
Okay, decent record but let’s pull that apart. The two wins were against teams that are awful. Minnesota is widely picked to not only be the worst team this season, but possibly the worst in league history. As for Chicago, they have a couple of recent seasons that can compete with Minnesota for that “league history” title.
That leaves the New York match as the one that can be called a real test. NYRB is the sort of team, maybe even the team, that they’ll have to go toe-to-toe with if they want to be regarded as elite. Instead, the team got the lead and blew it in the second half by allowing two goals by two players you’ve never heard of.
Yep, it was the first game so maybe it wasn’t something to judge by. True, but maybe these first three are a poor sample too.