Atlanta United headed across the continent, briefly resting, playing a transient lineup and leaving with a 1-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps. It's as good as a performance as anyone who can be expected under the circumstances as the Five Stripes awesome run continues. Some thoughts on the historic win:
Donuts and Mate
In their clean sheet victory in Canada, Atlanta United became the first MLS history team to win five games in a row while keeping their scoresheet opponents. It was a truly remarkable success considering what the back line looks like in this game. Brek Shea is back in lineup and has arguably his best game since the second leg against Herediano. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez moved from his usual left-back center to the right and never missed a beat. Franco Escobar is his usual self-employed. Enjoy him while you can because the teams from everywhere will come after him as soon as possible. Then there is Florentin Pogba.
Pog-boom or Pog-bust?
While unreasonably abandoning any of these defenders because they are all very big, we have to talk about Pogba's full debut. The veteran of Ligue 1 came in lineup for Miles Robinson of all the people, probably the best defender of the team this season. The first notable thing about tall and tall Pogba is how well her with the ball at her feet. He is calm and composed and most of all can choose a pass from the usual anywhere in the field. He pinged the left, right and center and almost found the mark with good accuracy. In some instances he assisted in the spring of a counter-attack on his distribution.
As the game continued, he began to show his physical and defensive intelligence. He has multiple clutch interceptions and proves strong in the ball when under pressure. Unfortunately for Pogba, he's trying to break the best back line in the league. How does he get more play time? Robinson and LGP will not go anywhere. Escobar ni. Can he be the left rear option? He played there in some of his career. It is definitely not out of the field of possibility.
Pasya? There was so much Pog-boom for Florentin in her entire debut.
Dan Gargan mentioned at FOX Sports South telecast as it seems that Atlanta United lived in their new identity. But what is that? You may have fallen in love with the high octane attacking style of Tata Martino, but Atlanta United is very much a defensive team today. It does not matter what was preached in the opening press conferences or what might or may not. The Frank de Boer team is concerned about the possible minimum targets and the attacking calculation.
It may not be exciting, but this method works and dominates. Atlanta beat Vancouver into everyone's favorite statistics, Expected Goals. It does not feel exciting or enjoyable as Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez see each other flying. However, the results speak too much for themselves. People think De Boer carries Total Football with him in Atlanta. Instead he brought Catenaccio. Know the love it is.