Atlanta United: Reaching an All Time Low


Ashfiq Islam, Staff Writer

Atlanta United is not the same team it used to be in 2018, or even 2019. Even though 2018 was the best year for the team, 2019 wasn’t half bad. We won a couple of trophies in 2019 and we were still happy with that. The 2020 season is a whole different story. 

Before we get into the beginning of the season, we need to cover the team changes that took place before the season started. Atlanta United and Frank DeBoer decided to sell more than half of our trophy winning team before the beginning of the season, which was an obvious sign of future disaster. Atlanta sold a lot of their star players, including Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Julian Gressel, Hector Tito Villalba, and Justin Meram. All of these players were first-team starters. This was Atlanta’s first mistake. Frank DeBoer and the board decided it would be fine to deplete the team of some of their star players because they believed that Josef Martinez could carry the entire team. I don’t blame them for selling the players, but Martinez cannot be expected to carry the entire team if there is no one to back him up. It’s not like Atlanta used the money they earned from these transfers to buy other, better players. They made meaningless transfers, which would harm the team in unprecedented ways. 

Atlanta started its season off rather well, with wins against Nashville and Cincinnati. That’s when the current pandemic hit. When the MLS decided to postpone the season until further notice, which was a great decision, teams disbanded for a while. Atlanta bought a couple of players and was pretty confident when it was announced that the “MLS Is Back” tournament was  scheduled for July. Most critics, fans, and analysts were predicting that Atlanta would win or at least do well in the tournament. Boy were they surprised when they absolutely bombed the tournament. 

Atlanta faced the New York Red Bulls for the first game of the tournament. They lost 1-0. We still had hope, as there were 2 more games, but Atlanta lost 1-0 to Cincinnati the next week. Atlanta recouped and held on to the tiny speck of hope that they could still advance. That weekend, Atlanta lost 1-0 to Columbus. They lost every single game they had in the competition. They didn’t score a single goal in the competition. There was no rigor in the team. There was no passion. There was no determination. There was no end goal. The team was lost. The defense lacked strength and the attack lacked everything. Needless to say, Atlanta was not happy. After the third straight 1-0 loss, which is the longest scoreless streak in the team’s history, Frank DeBoer was fired from the team. Atlanta hired Stephen Glass as the interim manager until a new one is found. 

Atlanta starts play again this weekend against Nashville. This time they will be playing at home, without any fans. On the bright side, there will be sirens and the usual chants being played through speakers in the stadium, which might give the players an adrenaline rush. Nevertheless, none of this matters if Atlanta cannot get better. Atlanta needs to change their team, especially since Josef Martinez won’t be available the rest of the season, as he was placed on the season ending injury list. We’re not the same award-winning team anymore. We don’t have those players. We might need to change tactics or strategies. We just need to change. If we don’t, Atlanta will turn into another Atlanta team, like the Falcons, and nobody wants that. Jokes aside, the integrity and honor of Atlanta United may be lost, if the team doesn’t change their ways.