It’s the season’s final 10 games, when Atlanta United’s offense noticeably began to struggle, that I want to focus on.
The visible slump coincided with Moreno’s fantastic run and assist to George Bello in the 3-2 win against D.C. United on Sept. 18 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Including that game, Atlanta United’s attack began to take on what I think was a “highlight attempt” approach rather than a team tactics approach, punctuated by the 2-0 loss to NYCFC in the playoffs.
A look at a few key stats:
- Average dribble attempts pre DC: 16.7.
- Average dribble attempts from DC on: 22.
- Successful dribble attempts pre DC: 11.
- Successful dribble attempts from DC on: 13.9.
That’s a 24 percent increase in attempts and a 21 percent increase in successful attempts.
And Moreno was as guilty as anyone of perhaps trying to replicate that amazing play from the D.C. United game:
- Average dribble attempts pre DC: 4.2.
- Average dribble attempts from DC on: 4.6.
- Successful dribble attempts pre DC: 2.5.
- Successful dribble attempts from DC on: 2.3.
The increase in dribble attempts was punctuated by him attempting a season-high 13, successful on six, against NYCFC.
A problem that can result from too much dribbling is it reduces passing, which can discourage teammates from making off-the-ball runs into space.
That wasn’t entirely true with Atlanta United, though.
- Average pass attempts pre DC: 531.9.
- Average pass attempts from DC on: 541.2.
- Average pass completions pre DC: 451.5.
- Average pass completions from DC on: 453.3.
And passes were still being made in the opponent’s defensive third:
- Average passes in opponent third pre DC: 28.9.
- Average passes in opponents third from DC on: 30.3.
All of this culminated though with the loss to NYCFC, in which, with Moreno as the example of over-dribbling, the team created one good chance while simultaneously attempting a season-high in dribbles attempted (37), its third-lowest mark in expected assists (0.3) and fourth-worst expected goals (0.4).