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Lots and lots of changes as The Five Stripes' official season begins tonight with the CONCACAF Champions League opener in Honduras. Season preview soon come!

 

~lw3

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I'm still way behind on the preview thingy, but the MLS waits for no one! Our Five Stripes handled their business earlier this week up in Kennesaw, in the opening round of CONCACAF Champions League. Tonight, the 2020 MLS season premieres on primetime TV, and it's time to smash the 'Ville!

 

Let's Go United!

~lw3

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Only watch a limited amount but without Josef guess scoring is really, really gonna be difficult?? In the past have been pretty amazed by him but am still trying to metamorphe into the sport overall more. They really are incredible endurance athletes. 

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7drHiqr.gif

You remember these guys, right?

The MLS is Back! Atlanta United is among 26 -- whoop, scratch that -- 24 Major League Soccer outfits down in the Footie Bubble at Disney's very Wide World of Sports, participating in a World Cup-style tournament to reintroduce the season.

I really didn't want to jinx it by celebrating too early. But IF ALL GOES WELL (takes a grain or two of rock salt), our Five Stripes will take the field, against the New York Red Bulls, tonight before a live national audience (8:00 PM Eastern, FOX, TUDN, the old Univision Deportes, and 92.9 FM in ATL).

Too many players and staff came down with The Rona for FC Dallas and upstart club Nashville SC, so they have been declared out of the running. The group stage games, which began on Wednesday night and continue through July 23, will also count in the standings for the Regular Season, which will re-commence (Rock Salt!) at MLS home sites like The Benz after the Tourney championship game. If you want more of a local flavor for the game call, Mike Conti will cover the blow-by-blow on 92.9 FM radio, while watching on video from The Benz.

ATLUTD is "Group E" for this tournament, which has them playing FC Cincinnati next Thursday and Columbus Crew SC on July 21. Sixteen clubs will advance to the Knockout Stage, which begins on July 25 and runs (Sodium Chloride!!!) through the tournament Final on August 11.

Of course there's no Josef Martinez (out until at least late in the calendar year due to injury), which means players like Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martinez will continue trying to step up as scoring threats, and coach Frank de Boer's heavy passing tactics won't have Atlanta wishing too much upon a star down in Disney World. But the Red Bulls are without a few familiar names of the past too, like Bradley Wright-Phillips (now with LAFC), Kemar Lawrence (back home in Jamaica), and goalkepper Luis Robles (fell short late in the MLS re-opener against Orlando City on Wednesday).

NYRB's tinkering with a new formation, new contributors (although watch out for the wily Kaku out on the wing), and a new pressing style that they hope might mimic the freewheeling fun Atlanta fans enjoyed under former coach Tata Martino. The Piscataway Press, perhaps? As new arrival Fernando Meza, an Argentinian veteran with a decade of Latin American play under his belt, joins forces with the superb Miles Robinson, Atlanta's reformulated defensive backline will want to help keep goalkeeper Brad Guzan's kit as clean as his sheets, tonight and throughout match play.

While Atlanta has come into MLS looking like world-beaters at times during their short history, they have yet to defeat the Red Bulls (0-4-2 vs. NYRB, excepting the 2018 "upset" win in the Eastern Conference final round), coached by Chris Armas, on the pitch during the regular season. Even over three seasons in, there's still a first time for everything!

 

Let's Go United!

~lw3

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And if minor league ball is your thing, the Big Club's not the only one kicking off down in Central Florida! USL Championship league side ATL UTD 2 will face off against the legendary Rowdies down in Tampa Bay (St. Pete) tonight at 7:30, online via ESPN+.

~lw3

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Took a coffee break and noticed the creator of Kevin's "Red Velvet" nickname tweeting, "Pity drunk, lol". I was about to admire her courage with daydrinking when I realized, "OH CRAP, THE 9 AM GAME WITH FC CINCY IS ALREADY ON!"

Jake Mulraney (who looks exactly like every Jake Mulraney you've ever met, lol) got tossed with a red card, so the Stripes aren't making things easier on themselves in this opening half.

 

Let's Go United!

~lw3

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Not surprising. His style was just too different from Tata and for how the team is built! Fans didn't like him either. 

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It's been kinda crickets around here since The Five Stripes promoted Stephen "They Called Me Mister!" Glass to the head honcho post on an interim basis. That's in part because, with the MLS is Back tourney about to wrap up (Semifinals start tonight! Philly 'n Portland today, Orlando and Minnesota tomorrow night), there is no word yet when the regular season, which assumes home sites will be available, will pick back up.

~lw3

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3 minutes ago, lethalweapon3 said:

It's been kinda crickets around here since The Five Stripes promoted Stephen "They Called Me Mister!" Glass to the head honcho post on an interim basis. That's in part because, with the MLS is Back tourney about to wrap up (Semifinals start tonight! Philly 'n Portland today, Orlando and Minnesota tomorrow night), there is no word yet when the regular season, which assumes home sites will be available, will pick back up.

~lw3

Was Glass here under Tata?  What's his coaching philosophy?

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2 minutes ago, JayBirdHawk said:

Was Glass here under Tata?  What's his coaching philosophy?

Glass was here w/ Tata for a minute, coaching Academy clubs beginning in August 2018, but he's not really a longtime disciple of either coach. Since January 2019, he's been running Atlanta United 2 in the USL Championship league.

https://www.shieldsgazette.com/sport/football/newcastle-united/part-two-our-exclusive-ex-newcastle-winger-stephen-glass-he-talks-tata-martino-frank-de-boers-influence-his-managerial-future-injuries-which-plagued-his-united-years-112738

The former Scottish soccer star hopes he can simplify ATLUTD's approach, but hinted at a return to an attacking style (less of the passing-oriented style FdB ran), but with an emphasis on improving possession control.

https://www.dirtysouthsoccer.com/2020/7/31/21348748/stephen-glass-atlanta-united-need-clarity-not-complexity

Quote

“It’s important to get back to being an attack-minded team that people know they’re going to come up against and what they’re going to see.” He also added “if you’re an Atlanta fan, you want to know what you’re going to see and expect attacking football.”

 

~lw3

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Some of the new schedule is out, and they're keeping things regional for Atlanta United. Three opponents over the next five weeks include Nashville SC, Inter Miami CF, and the MLS is Back finalists, Orlando SC. Two weeks before the season picks back up at The Benz (with no fans in there, naturally; advantage, Nashville?)

Sat 8/22 vs. Nashville 7:00 (Fox Sports Southeast, 92.9 FM)

Wed 8/26 at Miami 8:00 (Fox Sports Southeast, 92.9 FM)

Sat 8/29 vs. Orlando 3:30 (Univision, 92.9 FM)

Wed 9/2 at Miami 7:00 (Fox Sports 1, 92.9 FM)

Sun 9/6 at Orlando 7:30 (Fox Sports Southeast, 92.9 FM)

Sat 9/12 vs. Nashville 8:30 (Fox Sports Southeast, 92.9 FM)

~lw3

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Hop on the bus, Gus! There's no need to discuss much, just that MLS soccer is back in town! Kinda. Atlanta United is back at The Benz in hopes of a revival of both the season and the team, but they'll have to do it without scores of thousands of fans in the building.

They've got a first-year opponent, in Nashville SC (7 PM Eastern, Fox Sports Southeast and 92.9 FM in ATL), that hasn't been able to gain a lot of traction. They lost their debut opener to the Five Stripes up in Smashville back in February, 2-1, then lost to eventual MLS is Back tourney champ Portland by a 1-0 score in March. Then came the pandemic.

Breakouts of COVID-19 among the rosters caused Nashville and FC Dallas to be suspended from participating in the Subble down in Central Florida. Those two teams got a leg up on the restart schedule with a pair of games in Dallas, concluding with Nashville's first-ever win, 1-0 and first draw, 0-0. Keyed by center-back and Lawrenceville native Walker Zimmerman, they've performed fantastically well on defense for a newly assembled club that has played through fits and starts.

Today, though, due to pandemic-related precautions, they have to take a team bus down I-75 for a same-day matchup in Atlanta.

Awaiting them is a team that is redoubling its efforts under new coach Stephen Glass. While they don't have the players that made the Peachtree Press a thing of beauty, Atlanta does hope to present a more cohesive, attacking, freer-flowing offensive style, at least one more effective than the one aimlessly running around the pitch in Orlando last month.

"We want to get back to scoring goals," Brad Guzan told media this week ahead of today's match. "We want to get back to being exciting, to being a threat, and to making it a scary thing when teams see that they're playing Atlanta United." It will be hard to get opponents feeling intimidated in a cavernous stadium with no fans, even one with all the whiz-bang sound and features to usually accompany them.

But Glass will have Erick "el Cubo" Torres, returning to MLS play after stints in Mexico, at forward as a season-ending injury-replacement player for Josef Martinez. Glass will also have Pity Martinez and Ezequiel Barco more consistently at the wings, and Emerson Hyndman playing more downhill.

The offense doesn't have to come together all in one evening, although Atlanta tonight should look like the team that wasn't all cramped from hours of adjusting legroom. But if the round-robin phase with Nashville, Orlando and Miami doesn't bear fruit, well, make a new plan, Stan! Or Steve, or whatever your name is.

 

Let's Go United!

~lw3

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You down with LGP?

Yeah, you know we!

 

Can Atlanta United coach Stephen Glass get this new show on the road, this time against another new yet competitive club in Inter Miami CF (8 PM Eastern, Fox Sports South in ATL)? A win could move The Five Stripes back into the playoff side of the MLS table.

Let's Go United!

~lw3

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    • By lethalweapon3
      If we’re fortunate to be around long enough, there may come a season when Atlanta United FC becomes just another run-of-the-mill Major League Soccer franchise, just another sports club going through the motions in this championship-starved town.
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      ~lw3
    • By lethalweapon3
      Might as well get a thread going!
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      Stuff to Know:
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      Here's a taste of what some experts are saying about this club's prospects in its first season:
      http://the18.com/soccer-news/atlanta-united-most-exciting-team-mls-history-hector-villalba-miguel-almiron-josef-martinez-young-talent-players-roster
      http://americansoccernow.com/articles/toronto-is-tops-with-both-new-york-teams-in-the-mix
      http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/gallery/mls-eastern-conference-predictions-who-will-make-the-playoffs-030317
       
       
      ~lw3
    • By lethalweapon3
      http://deadspin.com/reports-atlanta-likely-to-get-an-mls-team-1307409821




      I love the Silverbacks (shameless plug: the NASL's Soccer Bowl will be here in November) and would miss the heck out of Silverbacks Park. But as long as Arthur Blank's behind this effort, I suspect this would turn into a nice draw at the new stadium by 2018.

      What would you prefer as a name for an Atlanta MLS team? I can't really get with the Sporting/FC/Real/United names. I like "Aliens," but for various reasons I know that would never go over well.

      ~lw3