Does anyone remember the start of the season when Atlanta lost a few games and everyone started to panic? We do. It was like the apocalypse was coming, with fans violently and relentlessly calling for changes at the top. As you can imagine we thought it was a pretty ridiculous route for them to go down, because everyone knows that you need a few games before 100% getting into the swing of things in a league like the MLS.
As we all now know they wound up finding that cutting edge, and it didn’t take all too long for them to re-discover it. As the winners of the MLS Cup last season there were obviously going to be high expectations placed on their shoulders, but this really was on another level. They couldn’t put a foot wrong without an overwhelming amount of criticism being thrown in their direction, and to be perfectly honest, we’re not entirely sure how they were able to deal with it so well.
But deal with it they did and now, they’re riding high towards the top-end of the Eastern Conference. As reported by Yahoo Sports and ESPN they were recently able to add to their winning run with a nice performance against Vancouver, as the fans and team continue to build up some real momentum. While we have all kinds of problems with how fickle their supporters are, which kind of makes us want to see how they’d deal with the kind of season a lot of teams have had to in the MLS, are still intrigued by this resurgence.
We want to see whether or not they’re able to sustain it, and if they are, whether they can get past some of the Western Conference’s biggest and best names in the process. It’s no secret that Seattle and both LA teams are looking like the frontrunners right now, to the point where it already seems like a foregone conclusion that one of them is going to win the whole thing. That’s not a guarantee, of course, and if one team from the East is going to be able to intervene, we think DC United and Atlanta are situated towards the top of the list.
This last run really does prove what persistence can do in this sport. Frank de Boer wasn’t exactly being pinpointed as the right man for the job after a few losses, but Atlanta needed to go through a little bit of bad in order to get back to the good. They’ve got the confidence they need now, and alongside that impressive fan power, they could become the juggernaut everyone thought them to be just twelve months ago (well, less than that).
Defensively speaking they’ve been able to put together some really extraordinary performances in recent weeks, and when you take a quick look at their schedule, it becomes clear that they have a chance to build up a really nice streak in the next section of the season.