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Hot Takes: Tactical Versatility Pays Off

Atlanta hasn’t lost at home in 10 months...until now.

MLS: FC Dallas at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last two years, there hasn’t been a team more talked about, more hyped, more exciting to watch than the mighty Atlanta United. Their manager Tata Martino, their star playmaker Miguel Almiron is playing with the Geordies in Newcastle, and Frank De Boer is now their manager, there has been a cultural shift in this club, new style of play, and there is only a matter of time before it sticks, or FDB is out. The Luchi Gang went out to Mercedez-Benz Stadium and took home a coveted three points in the home where Atlanta had not lost at home in the last ten months.

Luchi is showing tactical flexibility, and I love it!

Luchi Gonzalez introduced a new lineup against the reigning MLS Cup Champions opting for three center backs with Hollingshead and Cannon as the wingbacks. On paper, Atlanta United is a far stronger team with stars like Josef Martinez, Ezequiel Barco, Darlington Nagbe, Tito Villaba, just to name a few. I’ll touch on it more below, but this formation allowed for Hedges and co. to absorb pressure and counter. The incredible thing was, Atlanta did not show up. Looking at Dallas’ first goal, Bressan had about six months to play that ball to Michael Barrios which lead to his ball to Jesus Ferreira who outran Parkhurst and Robinson with a wide open shot to slot past Brad Guzan.

Luchi is still in his single digits as a professional coach, and I think he is doing a fantastic job so far, and as Taylor Twellman said, he had the right plan.

Jesse had a fantastic game, but needs maturing

It’s almost comical at this point. Jesse Gonzalez is a very good young goalkeeper, but he needs to address his issue with getting carded for time wasting. Jon Champion brought up two intriguing stats 1) Jesse has accumulated 12 yellow cards in the last two and a half years 2) He is also the closest FC Dallas player to a one suspension. Part of it may be the reputation he has gained for time wasting, but we are getting close to the point to where Jimmy Maurer can stake his claim once again for some increased minutes. The number 2 was already named the Audi Index Player of the Week in his lone start. If he can stay out of the ref’s book, he could potentially make another claim for some USMNT call ups with performances like he had on Saturday.

These kids can still do it while not dominating possession

We started the season with some incredible stats of this group of young, inexperienced players getting results while having 60-65% of the ball. This is marshaled by a former MLS Defender of the Year, a Swiss international with World Cup experience, two DP midfielders; one a destroyer, and another a strong number 8 leading the charge for a group of players primarily under the age of 23. Now Edwin Cerillo has taken the place of Bryan Acosta while he was out with an illness and has done a fantastic job and led the team with four tackles.

This team only had 28% possession. They sat deep, absorbed pressure like a bunch of seasoned vets. Bressan, the sole newcomer in the backline led the way with four tackles in his 60 minute shift. Carlos Gruezo was much more physical as well. The Ecuadorian would have gotten a straight red for the stamp on Brek Shea late in the game if he were one yard back and outside of the box. Thankfully there is the double jeopardy rule, and FC Dallas conceded a penalty, and Gruezo got off with only a yellow. Yes, it was a nasty tackle and he should have been sent off, if Shea were outside the box, but there is no need to argue it with that rule being in place.

Did I miss your hot take? Drop it in the comments below!