Jeff Larentowicz prescient in Atlanta United 2 analyst debut

Atlanta United 2 midfielder Aiden McFadden (2) celebrates after scoring during the first half of a USL match against Memphis 901 FC Sunday, May 23, 2021, at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw. McFadden recorded two goals for the second straight game. (Dakota Williams/Atlanta United)
Caption
Atlanta United 2 midfielder Aiden McFadden (2) celebrates after scoring during the first half of a USL match against Memphis 901 FC Sunday, May 23, 2021, at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw. McFadden recorded two goals for the second straight game. (Dakota Williams/Atlanta United)

Credit: Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

Jeff Larentowicz was fair, funny, opinionated and, most importantly, prescient in his debut as an Atlanta United 2 analyst in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Memphis in a USL game at Kennesaw State.

ExploreFormer Atlanta United captain Jeff Larentowicz retires

You don’t make 467 appearances in MLS, including 121 with Atlanta United, without knowing how to read a game and communicate what you’re seeing.

Filling in for Jason Longshore, who was analyzing Atlanta United’s game against Seattle, Larentowicz practically predicted three of the goals.

With Atlanta United trailing 2-1, Larentowicz noted in the 89th minute that Sir Alex Ferguson once said “ ‘There’s always one more opportunity in the game.’ I think there’s something left.”

Four minutes later, in the game’s final seconds, Aiden McFadden scored his second goal to seal a 2-2 draw.

Larentowicz said earlier in the game that he thought McFadden was out of gas. He returned to that after the goal, saying “He must have made a pit stop.” It can be rare for an analyst to go back to correct a statement or belief when it turns out to be incorrect.

Before that goal, Larentowicz said that Atlanta United 2 needed to try to get players behind Memphis’ back line and make small diagonal passes. The team did just that in its buildup to the tying goal.

As part of his keys to the game, Larentowicz noted that Memphis is very quick in transition. He said in the opening minutes that Memphis can make things happen quickly, and in the 18th minute that Memphis needed just one or two passes to flip the field and attack Atlanta United 2.

Memphis 901 FC goalkeeper John Berner clears the ball during a USL match against Atlanta United 2 Sunday, May 23, 2021, at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw. (Dakota Williams/Atlanta United)
Caption
Memphis 901 FC goalkeeper John Berner clears the ball during a USL match against Atlanta United 2 Sunday, May 23, 2021, at Fifth-Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw. (Dakota Williams/Atlanta United)

Credit: Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

Credit: Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

Memphis’ first goal, in the 45th minute, was also a product of two passes and some poor marking by Atlanta United 2.

Larentowicz again noted in the 57th minute that Memphis would thrive in a disjointed game and that Atlanta United 2 needed to maintain discipline on defense.

Well, Memphis needed one really long run and one pass to score its second goal in the 73rd minute. Atlanta United 2′s players were caught up field because an attack was blunted.

Larentowicz didn’t predict the first goal, a free kick by McFadden in the 28th minute, but said, “What I like about him, when he scores, he feels it, he loves it, the reaction was great.”

Other good moments or quotes for Larentowicz:

11th minute: “Memphis wants to go forward and go forward quickly. If they can put Atlanta United defenders in 1-on-1 situations they can be more dangerous in attack.”

18th minute: “(Efrain) Morales steps back behind Jack Bauer; he doesn’t recognize that it’s going to be a 2-v-1.” A great save by Alec Kann prevented a goal on that play.

25th minute: “They are playing for cross and balls into the box. It’s not what’s given them success this year. Memphis is pretty comfortable sitting behind the ball and making Atlanta United beat them.”

35th minute: “It’s too easy. A chance on goal in one or two passes (for Memphis).”

35th minute: “If you are a centerback or defender for Atlanta United 2 or Atlanta United, you have to be used to playing on an island.”

38th minute: “The best time to rest is when you have the ball.”

43rd minute: “I trained with him (Laurent Kissiedou) a few times. I’ve limped away from a few of his tackles.”

45th minute: “They’ve put in a lot of work in this half down Atlanta United’s left side. It’s a good goal. A lot of Atlanta United players saying I thought you had him.” That was after Memphis’ first goal.

55th minute: “As a rule as the fouling player, no eye contact with the ref and you move on.” This was after a yellow card given to an Atlanta United 2 player.

57th minute: “Thinking about how both teams might score a goal. Much easier for Memphis when games falls part. Atlanta United would rather build up. Atlanta United will have to be diligent defensively.”

63rd minute: “All three (Atlanta United 2) midfielders are stuck on same side of the field so there’s no one to switch it to.” This was after the microphones picked up Atlanta United 2 interim manager telling his players to pass the ball from one side of the field to the other.

71st minute: “Yeah, I can read.” That was after Jon Nelson congratulated Larentowicz after he read his first scripted promo.

87th minute: “You can’t do that. I don’t know why he’s acting surprised.” That was after Jack Gurr was given a red card for kicking a dead ball at a Memphis player.

93rd minute: “What a week for him. What a week. Fully deserved as well.” That was about McFadden, who scored four goals in two games.

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