Atlanta United is fortunate because it will play at NYCFC on Sept. 25, and Philadelphia will host NYCFC on Decision Day, Oct. 6.
While Atlanta United can’t determine its future, it can affect it.
“We had everything in our own end, and now we don’t,” Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer said. “I think still if we can win now there is a good possibility, but still, it depends on the others, of course. I think that the players, including myself, we don’t look at those results. We have to focus on ourselves.”
Part of that focus will be to find an improved balance between offense and defense. In a problem reminiscent of its troubles earlier this season, the team has lacked that cohesion in its past two games.
De Boer said against Columbus the players lacked patience with the ball. Instead of letting plays develop, there was too much eagerness to try to complete a pass that had a 1-in-20 chance of success. The resulting turnover would catch Atlanta United with too many players too far forward and unable to get back to defend.
Centerback Miles Robinson was able to stop the Crew a few times when Atlanta United’s defenders were outnumbered. Eventually, the percentages caught up and the result was the Crew’s first two goals.
“There was a lot of space to cover in behind and they knew how to take advantage of that strength of theirs, with fast players, and it’s a shame because it was an important game for us to keep fighting at the top of the table and playing at home, so it’s a shame,” centerback Franco Escobar said.
De Boer said he will talk to the team and share his story on Sunday.
“I will be positive because you can’t be negative,” he said. “Of course, we will look each other in the faces and see what went wrong. We also have to be positive. We know we can be better. Tomorrow, we have a meeting and then continue to Cincinnati, because I know for sure we will see a different team.”
Southern Fried Soccer Podcasts
Follow me on twitter @DougRobersonAJC
On Facebook at Atlanta United News Now
Atlanta United coverage on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Have a question? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org