Atlanta United putting all focus on Chicago – Atlanta Journal Constitution


Chicago, one of two teams that Atlanta United has defeated this season, is arguably the worst team in MLS this season with just five points from 10 games. That, combined with its recent results and upcoming schedule, makes the game at Soldier Field possibly the team’s easiest for the next few weeks.

After the game, which is when fullback George Bello, centerback Miles Robinson and goalkeeper Brad Guzan leave to join the U.S. for the Gold Cup, and midfielder Ezequiel Barco may leave to join Argentina for its preparation for the Olympics, Atlanta United’s schedule becomes much tougher. It faces the following teams: Nashville (3-1-6), New England (7-2-2), Cincinnati (3-5-1), Columbus (4-3-3) and Orlando (6-1-3).

Its a tough stretch for Atlanta United, which is one point below the seven teams that are above the playoff line.

“Need to go in there on Saturday, implement what we’ve worked on the past couple of days and get three points,” fullback Brooks Lennon said.

While it’s an honor for the players to be called up by their national teams, it’s an unfortunate situation for Atlanta United.

After struggling on offense most of the season, it seemed to find a formation, three centerbacks with an extra player in the midfield, and tactics that showed potential in the second half of last week’s 0-0 draw with New York Red Bulls. It dominated possession while taking 10 shots.

Plus, striker Josef Martinez recently returned from being with the Venezuela national team in the Copa America. He is available for selection for Saturday.

Despite being winless in its past five, the team’s fortunes were looking promising.

“I think from the start we’ve been going through a process,” winger Erik Lopez said. “We haven’t been getting the results but the team’s style has been clear. Just a matter of turning the results around the getting the victories we want.”

And then came Thursday’s announced call-ups.

Now, after this game, should Atlanta United win or draw, Heinze will have a more enjoyable challenge of keeping momentum going with several new starting players. Should Atlanta United lose, Heinze’s challenge would seem to be much more difficult.

Despite what has happened, and the challenges ahead, the team has belief that results will become positive. Lennon credited Heinze for that.

“He’s shown that he’s in our corner from day 1,” he said. “Having that confidence from the coach propels the players to be confident and know that results will eventually go our way.”

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Atlanta United’s 2021 MLS schedule

April 17 Atlanta United 0, Orlando 0

April 24 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 1

May 1 New England 2, Atlanta United 1

May 9 Atlanta United 1, Inter Miami 1,

May 15 Atlanta United 1, Montreal 0

May 23 Atlanta United 1, Seattle 1

May 29 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2

June 20 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2

June 23 NYCFC 1, Atlanta United 0

June 27 Atlanta United 0, New York Red Bulls 0

July 3 at Chicago, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 8 at Nashville, 8:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 17 vs. New England, 5 p.m., ESPN

July 21 at Cincinnati, 7 p.m., FS1

July 24 vs. Columbus, 3:30 p.m., ABC

July 30 at Orlando, 8 p.m., ESPN

Aug. 4 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 7 at Columbus, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 15 vs. LAFC, 4 p.m. ESPN

Aug. 18 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 21 at D.C. United, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 28 vs. Nashville, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 10 vs. Orlando, 7 p.m., FS1

Sept. 15 vs. Cincinnati, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 18 vs. D.C. United, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 25 at Philadelphia,3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 29 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., FS1

Oct. 2 at Montreal, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 16 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 20 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 27 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 30 vs. Toronto, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 3 at New York Red Bulls, TBD, BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 7 at Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE