Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan has described the membership’s 2022 marketing campaign as ‘chaotic’ and cited accidents as the principle cause for failing to stay as much as expectations.
A lot was anticipated of the 5 Stripes heading into the 2022 season after returning to the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2021.
Atlanta had loved a full pre-season below head coach Gonzalo Pineda, Josef Martinez had proven glimpses of his previous type, and a lot of key additions had been made, together with Thiago Almada and Osvaldo Alonso.
Nevertheless, accidents ripped by Pineda’s roster, with Guzan and Alonso becoming a member of the likes of Miles Robinson, Emerson Hyndman, Santiago Sosa, Brooks Lennon, Andrew Gutman, and Martinez in spending prolonged spells on the sidelines.
The latter additionally publicly endured a falling out with Pineda and was suspended for one match in September.
All of this compiled to destroy a promising begin to the season, with Atlanta United sliding down the Jap Convention and failing to make the Playoffs.
“The phrase I might most likely select to make use of is chaotic. I feel there have been some highs, however there have clearly been some lows,” mentioned veteran goalkeeper Guzan (through ESPN). “At the beginning of the yr after we had been down in Mexico for preseason, the vibe was one which we had been all excited for the yr. Slowly however absolutely although, a spell of accidents got here in speedy hearth.”
That mentioned, there have been a few silver linings to the clouds round Mercedes-Benz Stadium, one among which was undoubtedly the type of Thiago Almada.
The 21-year-old joined Atlanta from Velez for a league-record $16m price in the beginning of the season and after an initially modest begin, has gone on to change into the membership’s most influential participant.
Heading into the ultimate day of the common season, Almada has six targets and 6 major assists to his title in 28 appearances, with 11 of his 12 direct objective involvements coming throughout his final 21 outings.
So sturdy has Almada’s type been within the second half of the season that he even picked up his first senior cap for Argentina throughout the latest worldwide break and is in competition to make their roster for the 2022 World Cup.
“While you take a look at his latest performances in comparison with the start of the yr, I feel you see somebody who discovered their footing,” Guzan mentioned of Almada. “You’re beginning to see a way more comfy Thiago. You see him becoming into the workforce and understanding motion of men round him. Guys are understanding now the place he likes to choose up the ball, what he likes to do with the ball at his ft and when you’ve got that continuity, you begin to see the thrill and ability he has.”
No matter Almada’s type, 2022 has been an utter disappointment for Atlanta United and the stress is now closely on Pineda to show issues round.
90min sources confirmed earlier this yr that the Mexican will get his probability to rebuild over the winter and have one other full pre-season with the 5 Stripes. Steve Cannon, CEO of Arthur M. Clean Sports activities and Leisure, then went on report to again Pineda’s place.
“Gonzalo Pineda shall be teaching Atlanta United in 2023,” he mentioned, including: “He may have our full confidence and the chance to handle a full and wholesome roster subsequent yr.”
So, with little room for error within the eyes of many supporters, what is the goal for Pineda’s Atlanta United in 2023?
“From a sporting aspect we’re attempting to get again to that success that we created early on and that is successful video games, successful trophies, and competing for trophies,” mentioned Guzan. “Atlanta United remains to be an enormous membership, if not the most important membership within the league. Gamers are nonetheless keen to come back and be part of Atlanta United. It is all the way down to us as gamers to recapture that success by successful video games.”
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