Atlanta United FC is playing its first MLS game next week and the expectations are high, especially for an expansion club. With a world-class manager and a young talented team, AUFC have looked good in preseason. There is no doubt that our South American attack will be a nightmare for opposing defenses. The pace and skill of Villalba, Almiron, Martinez, and Asad have certainly shown to be the team’s strength. But with the focus on attack minded players, Atlanta has left itself a bit vulnerable to counters. Club president Darren Eales said to the crew at 92.9 The Game in an interview with John Fricke and Hugh Douglas that the team would be exciting to watch with lots high scoring matches.
We all want high scoring matches, especially if our team ends up on the winning side of said matches. But with the expectation for the club to do well in its first season those wins will need to come more frequently than not. A strong attack can definitely get us into the MLS playoffs, but in knockout play a strong defense is crucial. That being said I am confident that once the back four build some chemistry they will do just fine. We will also be boosted by the arrival of Brad Guzan a few months into the season.
All in all the front office has set the club up to do great things in its inaugural season. I personally expect one of the best performances by a first year team in MLS history. Call me an optimist, but I see success in Atlanta’s future. I guess we will start finding out March 5th.