Atlanta United were finally able to put another in the win column after breaking a four-game losing streak with a 4-0 win over the Colorado Rapids.
The win saw the team create many chances and defend with a urgency we haven’t seen in a long time. The prize was exactly what the Five Stripes needed: a clean sheet, an explosive attacking display, and three points on the board.
Now that we At last have a positive outcome to discuss, let’s review some key moments from the match.
Big Chance – Colorado Rapids 26′
Kevin Cabral charged freely on the left side until Miles Robinson came over to cut him off. With Robinson’s move failing to close Cabral, Atlanta United’s defense now has a significant gap. To fill this gap, Santiago Sosa does what he usually does and steps back (red arrow) to act as something of a centre-back.
With Luiz Araújo entering the game under pressure from Cabral (purple arrow), the French winger decides to look for midfield options, passing Connor Ronan (blue arrow).
The very problematic thing about this image is how lonely and open Michael Barrios is (marked in yellow). He caused Atlanta United a lot of problems early on in the game, so receiving the ball in that position would be troublesome.
Fortunately, Ronald Hernandez quickly returns and arrives in time to mark the Barrios zone (red arrow). Rossetto runs over to Ronan (yellow arrow), forcing him to clear the ball with a pass to Barrios (blue arrow), who Hernandez immediately starts to press (red dashed arrow).
With Robinson back in position, Sosa can now step forward and cover another space in front of the back lane (purple arrow).
Barrios holds on while Sam Nicholson makes an overlapping run (yellow arrow) for the Colombian to play him (blue arrow). As the Scottish midfielder threatened to cross into the box, Juanjo Purata runs with him, trying to cut the cross (red arrow).
Nicholson targets Cabral in the center (blue arrow with dots)…
… and Purata expertly cuts a cross and even knocks the ball over to buy a little more time.
Cabral comes over and manages to get the ball back, but Purata gets up and quickly takes him out of the box (red and blue arrows).
Under too much pressure, Cabral decides it’s best to just pass back to Ronan and find another way into the box (blue arrow). As Cabral plays the pass, Etienne puts pressure on Ronan (red arrow).
Ronan makes a quick pass back to Ralph Priso (blue arrow), who rushes forward trying to open a passing lane (yellow arrow). Berry runs over to close Priso (red arrow).
Meanwhile, Nicholson returns to continue participating in the play (purple arrow).
As Nicholson comes back from behind Hernandez (yellow arrow), Priso passes the ball to him (blue arrow) before Berry can take the ball from him.
Michael Barrios sees an opportunity that could come as Nicholson plays a through ball between the defenders and starts running into the Atlanta box (purple arrow).
Nicholson passes a through ball very well (blue arrow), which Barrios picks up (yellow arrow), but the Colombian is ruled offside.
- It was hard for me to pick a good defensive game to analyze… because Colorado didn’t have many concrete chances. The Rapids only made five shots that night and NONE of them hit from the box. Let’s be honest, Colorado isn’t a great band. On the one hand, it is difficult to really assess how much this result says about the future of this team. Atlanta United on the other side Really he needed this win. Let’s hope this dominant performance builds momentum and produces positive results against other teams, because trust me: matches don’t get any easier.
- Juanjo Purata had a great defensive performance. His contribution to the art was the key to avoiding a concession. From cutting a perfect cross to driving Cabral out of the box to prevent him from playing in the box, Purata made a great change. He wasn’t the only one either. Miles Robinson also looked more solid in this game than the previous few, with Ronald Hernandez making the most of the minutes he was given, replacing the injured Andrew Gutman. The team as a whole seemed to have more urgency during this match, something they had been missing for some time. He needs to keep it up in the next games to avoid another major slump like the one he’s just been in.
Atlanta United goal – Tyler Wolff 86′
Atlanta United start from the back as Luis Abram tries to pass to Franco Ibarry (dotted blue arrow). However, he places the pass too far from the Argentine (blue arrow) and Danny Leyva of Colorado recovers it.
Leyva closes in at Atlanta’s goal (blue arrow) and a teammate runs on defense (yellow arrow), who gains even more space after Juanjo Purata ducks down to cover for Calvin Harris (purple arrow). Leyva hits hard, which Ibarra quickly sees as a great chance to score and tackles (red arrow).
Ibarra’s tackle is good and Tyler Wolff recovers the ball to initiate a counter-attack (red arrow).
Wolff charges forward and passes the ball to Machop Chola (blue arrow) who runs down the right flank (yellow arrow). To close Chol, Sam Nicholson (red arrow) accelerates.
Despite Atlanta’s momentum, he’s still outnumbered six-for-four in this attack (Thiago Almada is out of frame in the bottom left of the picture), so making that legitimate chance won’t be easy.
Chol dribbles inside to escape Nicholson’s pressure (blue arrow) while Wolff runs towards the edge of the Colorado field (yellow arrow). This opens up a really neat pass option to create a chance.
Something really interesting that we start to see during this game is what Giorgos Giakoumakis does when he sees an opportunity unfolding. He doesn’t just stay still or stay tainted by being around defenders. Clunks backwards (purple arrow) to make it easier for Chol to find him to pass.
Here we can see Giakoumakis’ move a bit better (purple arrow) just before Chol sends him the ball (blue arrow). Meanwhile, Wolff hits the box with a very good run for the Colorado defense (yellow arrow).
Giakoumakis doesn’t waste time or try anything fancy. He just keeps the ball moving to the left side (blue arrow) where Almada runs in (yellow arrow).
As Wolff and Giakoumakis run into the box (yellow and purple arrows), Almada decides to shoot on target (blue arrow) in the hope that maybe one of the two can score if William Yarbrough prevents him.
Yarbrough manages to save Almada’s shot…
… but Wolff is there to bury it with a heel strike.
- Ibarra has a knack for finding the perfect moment to attack. He has really grown into his role as a devastating midfielder and has the potential to be even better. It takes really good eyesight to identify push/rebound triggers like he does, and his tackling style makes him hard to miss when he engages in a tackle. If he wants to knock you down, you’ll be rolling on the ground for a minute. This game is another example of Ibarra’s refined ability to read drama and take decisive action to hold off an opponent and even prepare a counter-attack.
- Congratulations to Tyler Wolff on his first MLS goal! Although it looked like it was just a penalty, the 20-year-old homegrown did well, scoring. He had just been replaced and was already making an impact with his back runs and the space he used. He’s still young and has some work to do, but he’s already starting to show his attacking prowess and we’ll no doubt see him net more in the future.
Atlanta United Goal – Giorgos Giakoumakis 90′
This one will be short, sweet and full of fun. Are you ready? let’s go.
Quinten Westberg starts from the back with a long ball to Brooks Lennon on the far sideline (blue arrow).
Lennon gets the ball and without hesitation throws it forward with a beautiful cross to Giakoumakis (blue arrow).
Giakoumakis hits the ball in the chest and is now in goal with only Yarbrough (blue arrow) to beat. However, he has several Colorado defenders behind him (red arrows), so he can’t slow down.
We saw Luiz Araujo in a 1v1 keeper situation against Charlotte where he failed. Now we can see what Giakoumakis does differently. Will he choose to shoot from a distance? Pass the goalkeeper? Draw a penalty??
NO! Flies over the goalkeeper with a nasty chip (blue arrow). Legend.
The ball drops and the finish is too easy for the Greek tank.
- Brooks Lennon is second in the league in successful crosses.
Brooks Lennon is second in the league in successful crosses (29) this season #atlutd
— Henry Higuita (@HAHiguita) May 17, 2023
And he just made a crazy cross for Giakoumakis to go on and score his sixth goal of the season. Lennon’s crossing skills have proven invaluable to Atlanta United, and his six assists this season don’t lie. Many fans from the team’s earlier years may remember how good Julian Gressel was at placing crosses exactly where Josef Martinez needed them. The pair often teamed up to score multiple goals. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar relationship develop between Lennon and Giakoumakis this season. Speaking of Giaco…
- BOOM GIAKOUMAKIS. Six goals in 483 MLS minutes is roughly one goal every 80.5 minutes – essentially a goal per game. His comeback was crazy, but it’s not just his numbers that are impressive. His physicality and ability to find space make him such a difficult defender. This time again he showed technical skill, he perfectly played the chip over Yarbrough and calculated his trajectory well enough to essentially land on the goal line. His ability to play a leadership role on the pitch, which players can admire thanks to his experience in Europe, has also proved extremely valuable. There is no doubt that Giakoumakis can lead this team to great things.
I’m also including his goal here because it’s just fun to watch. Here. Analyze it yourself. I am off.