We all know how hard it can be to have one great season then come crashing back down to earth the next. If you’re a fan of American sports in general then that’ll be particularly accurate, because the nature of the Draft (and uncertainty of the leagues in general) often leaves you wondering what could be next for your team. It’s exciting, it’s terrifying, and it’s pretty much everything in between.
As reported by MLS Soccer, it seems as if Atlanta United are insistent that they are ‘desperate’ for a win against Colorado Rapids and that they ‘need’ it. Whilst we completely agree that a win would be really helpful for them given their awful start to the MLS season, we don’t tend to think that they ‘need’ to win. You see, if the art of relegation was a threat then we’d understand, and perhaps if they were one point off the playoffs with one game to go, that would also make a lot of sense.
But this isn’t a must win game – not even close. Sure, you could argue that the future of Frank de Boer is riding on this game, but even that seems like a bit of an exaggeration in our eyes. Atlanta have held onto him for this long as a boss that it feels a little bit silly to think they’d get rid of him after a poor result to the Rapids, regardless of how bad they may seem as a collective.
Even Goal.com seem to be focusing on de Boer’s woes, and before people start thinking that we’re relentlessly defending the guy, we do believe that he has been in a bad position or two in the first few games.
The important thing to realise here, though, is that these Atlanta United fans don’t seem to know what it means to fail. They’ve been treated to some great football from some great players since they came into existence, to the point where they’ve already been able to gleefully celebrate an MLS Cup triumph. That doesn’t always happen to an expansion team, and their success is worth noting (and revelling in).
Ignore the doubters
However, they’re going to gain a lot more respect as a fanbase if they just own up to the fact that this season isn’t ‘do or die’ for the club. Sure, they haven’t been able to have as much success as they desired in the follow-up to their MLS Cup run, but this is all part of being a fan.
Just take a look at the Cleveland Browns. That franchise has gone through so many different bad runs in the last few decades, that it’s almost impossible to recognise them as serious contenders anymore. Despite that, their fans still turn out in their numbers on a week to week basis in order to cheer on their heroes.
Atlanta fans (in terms of the city) are resilient in their beliefs, and we just need to see that translate over into the team itself. Oh, and if the media could stop being so pessimistic about their chances, that’d be great too.