Welcome to The Wrap, running through all the postgame content after Nashville SC’s 2-0 loss in The A.
Atlanta United would certainly posit that yes, it is indeed good to have multiple $15 million attackers on your roster. One of those, Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez struck twice against Nashville in Mercedes Benz Stadium to provide a 2-0 victory for the Five Stripes.
In a game that was relatively back-and-forth, it was about the big signing making plays in big moments.
After a 2-0 loss in Atlanta last night, the aggregate score across two legs is 4-1 in favor of ATL.
“There’s so many other good things going on,” said head coach Gary Smith. “However, if you cannot convert, at some point the bow has to break. Whilst we showed some very, very good signs, it really is a difficulty and a problem for us, and we’re just not getting the opportunity to get our noses in front, and to change the dynamic of the game.”
With five total games of MLS play under their belts, Smith’s charges have notched just a pair of goals
The Graphical looked at reasonably strong play from Dominique Badji, and the gulf between what Atlanta got out of its designated player versus Nashville’s production from its own:
Badji showed a little bit more physical strength to box out defenders and hold the ball up, and combine with his teammates. If he can bring both of those factors on a regular basis, an improvement at the level behind him should see the goals come.
He was all over the field, comfortable linking passes with teammates, and… took literally one shot all game, and that shot was blocked before it even reached the 18-yard box.
A pair of film room posts this week. First, on the sequence that led to Pity Martínez’s opening goal:
He actually does a reasonable job arriving with the ball… but the problem is that he’s too busy tracking the pass itself as Pity receives it. That prevents him from getting into a good position to stop the winger once he’s in possession, and Martínez is easily able to get goalside (both inside and downfield) of Anibaba, giving him a one-v-one with a centerback.
…and another on Nashville’s attempts to press the Five Stripes into turnovers at the back:
Even though Atlanta ends up getting out, I’m calling this a successful press (and very close to actually forcing the turnover): Nashville was able to apply pressure in a structurally sound way, and didn’t give up a transition opportunity when the Five Stripes escaped that pressure.
It also took a little bit of luck and a great pass – from potentially a poor decision – from Guzan to Remedi, or Atlanta would have been in trouble.
And finally, the voting post for your community ratings, and the results are…
Once again, enough people shared their thoughts – I encourage you to do so each game you manage to vote in! – so a greatest-hits for the community comment portions.
- Man of the match – M Dax McCarty: 6.93 Community comments:
- “Class. Giveaways are his teammates making the wrong runs.”
- “Only mistakes were when joining the attack”
- “My Captain my Captain”
- GK Joe Willis: 5.88 Community comments:
- “Nothing to do except the goals & no blame there”
- “Back line did him no favors”
- “Wasn’t much he could do.”
- D Dan Lovitz: 6.80 Community comments:
- “Played several really dangerous balls in to the box.”
- “MoTM for me because he played the whole thing”
- “Impressive again”
- D Dave Romney: 6.32
- D Jalil Anibaba: 5.08 Community comments:
- “Passing out of bounds and stuff smh”
- “he passed the ball straight out of bounds attempting to play down the line. That can’t happen for your RB”
- “Looked a CB playing fullback on the first goal.”
- D Walker Zimmerman: 4.80 Community comments:
- “Tuff look”
- “Key mistakes on both Atlanta goals”
- “Very good player who had a tough day
- “He will regroup and lead the defense”
- “Uh, yikes”
- M Aníbal Godoy: 6.65 Community comments:
- “A monster. Not a monster shooter but otherwise a monster.”
- “Some good play in the field but possession killing dribblers into Guzan or rocket shots”
- “Solid passing. Poor finishing. But he shouldn’t have to be asked to have that many attempts on goal.”
- “Glue and Grit ….”
- “Godoy’s hustle back in added time down 2-0 was a highlight — shows who he is.”
- M/F Alistair Johnston: 5.93 Community comments:
- “Not good enough either but time to learn”
- “MOTM runner up. The 1 on 1 with Guzan while the game was scoreless was sad but a lot of potential”
- “Good young player…let him develop… Stop with hype train “
- M/F Hany Mukhtar: 5.22 Community comments:
- “Haven’t seen enough of it all season”
- “Still waiting for some creativity to justify his expense.”
- “Not yet getting a Diego Valeri-ish DP vibe”
- “Hard working…the quality will emerge. Have to acclimate to speed and athleticism “
- M/F Randall Leal: 5.10 Community comments:
- “Didn’t see enough of it tonight”
- “Failed to take advantage of opportunities”
- “Can’t figure how where Leal is best used. Should offense not go through him?”
- F Dominique Badji: 6.01 Community comments:
- “Good effort, poor quality”
- “I’m missing what’s justifying the hype. Yes he’s fast, but getting to the ball and getting the ball in space in attacking areas are not complete equations in and of themselves. Missing a key element!!!!”
- “Put in a tough shift…excellent effort”
- “His outing will be underrated because Leal and Mukhtar couldn’t combine for the life of them. Not his fault.”
- M/F David Accam (67′ sub): 5.83 Community comment:
- Should have been more dangerous up against Bello.
- F Daniel Ríos (79′ sub): 5.64 Community comment:
- Ok but not enough to make a difference at this level
- Anonymous except sky balls
- M/F Abu Danladi (79′ sub): 5.31
- D Taylor Washington (85′ sub): 5.20 Community comments:
- “need proof he came on”
- “Very good shift and right wing back”
- “Too little time to fairly score.”
- Coach Gary Smith: 5.82 Community comments:
- “It isn’t the coaches job to play. Has he assembled a side without any offensive punch? Well yes but we are good otherwise.”
- “Waited too late to bring on subs to help influence a game that had a chance to be salvaged.”
- “I liked the setup and aggressive press to start match. Subs came on a little late”
- “He’ll catch grief for bad offense, but is he supposed to be out there putting the passes to open guys on-target?”
- “Setup was good; subs gotta come sooner. If GS doesn’t have faith in his bench, then it’s time to find new players to push them.”
- Overall team rating: 5.68 Community comments:
- “No one is good enough in the final phase”
- “I wouldn’t go below 5 because it was on the road and there was positive play. At times the team looked like the better side. 2-0 may be a bit harsh for the game on the whole but there’s a lot of room for improvement here against a team that comically under performed in the tournament, scoring no goals and giving up at least one per game (but no more). Blah.”
- “Much of the final third play wasn’t even particularly close. Otherwise good effort.”
- “Easily worst game of (short) season”
- “They deserved a lot more than they got.”
- “Solid performance beside a couple of defensive miscues”
- “Team created opportunities. Next step putting the ball in the onion bag”
- “Looking for Muyl to come in and add veteran leadership and grit at right wing “
Lots to unpack there.
The league’s official recap. Game highlights. NSC site recap. Recap from friend of the blog, NewsChannel 5‘s Steven Layman. Yahoo recap (syndicated from the AP). Game story from Drake Hills over at the Tennessean. Game story and player ratings from Broadway.