Atlanta United FC vs Cincinnati FC Game Reaction
I thought the line up was a bit strange to see all three in Hyndman, Nagbe and Remedi playing and not have some more attack in the center of the park. The formation was a 3-4-2-1 but at times can look like a 5-3-2. The strategy of playing Remedi right in front of the defense is a great idea and gives Nagbe more room to attack. Cincinnati played a 4-3-3 but it may look like a 4-4-1 with a more defensive strategy. Also good game note this is the 5 Stripes first of five games in fifteen days.
1st Half Analysis:
Cincinnati right off the whistle looked to play a very defensive shape clogging the middle and making Atlanta pick out quick passes. Atlanta played a higher line in the defensive area trying to force the play from the back quicker to catch Cincinnati off guard. First thing to make note of was how Escobar was playing up the pitch which almost came to bite Atlanta but luckily Cincinnati fluffed their chance in the 25th minute. The first great scoring chance came in the 12th minute off a wonderful corner from Pity and Miles ran onto it but the keeper was agile and ready for the header. Meram did pick up a silly yellow card in the 14th minute that will have to be some concern in the second half because Atlanta cannot afford to go down a man.
It is clear that in the first half the long through balls to Josef will not work. Yet once again the one thing that many Atlanta fans fear came true. Their defense from set pieces and corners especially has not been good and Cincinnati put that to the test but GUUUUZZZZ as we call him came up big as always! Once it got to about the 30th minute you started to see Atlanta really push the ball and try to get more aggressive in the passing with Nagbe and Pity both putting in some great work trying to find a lane. Overall in the first half the defense looks solid for the most part with Miles playing well. The attack was a bit bland and needs a spark. They got that near the end of the half with Nagbe and Gressel both having some good ball movement on the left side. Josef started to come more to the wide areas which helps clears some room for Hyndman and Nagbe to try to get in the box. Lastly Meram needs to be ready for the back post follow up if he had in the 41st minute he may have had a goal off a Gressel shot that went just wide.
2nd Half Analysis:
In the 2nd half you saw Atlanta really come out and push the ball and try to find some more space by playing quickly. Escobar in a fit picked up a silly yellow early by showing his anger from a wayward call but kept his emotions in check the rest of the game. The 5 Stripes really pushed the ball from side to side trying to open up those little lanes for good passes. Yet the first goal comes off the Cincinnati corner where Guzan comes out with a punch and it lands at Josef’s feet. At that point it’s a race with a great ball up to Pity and he slides Josef in and as we all know one on one Josef doesn’t miss. He scores his 25th goal and 15th straight MLS game with a goal.
Then Tito comes into the game for Pity right after his 9th assist of the season and you can feel the energy really turn up for the team smelling blood in the water. Then once this team smelled blood it pounced again after a great effort play by Tito to cause a turnover. From there it fell to Gressel and he put Josef through to goal and he faked twice with a great chop turn and it was an easy goal. After that it was easy going as the little Argentine engine or most of you may know him as Eric Remedi stifled all attacks and controlled the game. Yet there was one nervous moment where Escobar over played a man and they had a sitter right on the doorstep but put it over the bar and that was that. One last note to make about the end of the game was the composure of Miles Robinson for as young as he is, he plays like a true pro and should be on the US national team’s radar.
My Three Stars of the Game:
1 Star: Miles Robinson- Composed at the back and led the defensive line well and had a great chance on goal
2 Stars: Eric Remedi- This little man is a bulldog and ruled the middle of the pitch dictating the offense and providing a great shield to the defense
3 Stars: Josef Martinez- It could not be anyone else this man barely touches the ball all game but when he does it’s a goal. Again he truly is the best goal scorer in the MLS!
Up Next: San Jose Earthquakes Saturday in Atlanta @ 3:30 PM