Atlanta United recognizes poor results, has plan to improve

Atlanta United defender Brooks Lennon, right, greets fans as the team arrives before their MLS home opener against the New England Revolution at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Atlanta United defender Brooks Lennon, right, greets fans as the team arrives before their MLS home opener against the New England Revolution at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Saturday, March 9, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

Gonzalo Pineda has been on a team in a rut before so he has experience helping them find a higher ground.

Pineda was an assistant on Seattle in 2017 when it won five of its first 16 matches. Seattle rallied to win nine of its next 18, part of which included a 13-match lossless streak.

Atlanta United, which Pineda manages, is in the midst of a six-match winless streak in the league. It hasn’t won a match since March and the rest of May isn’t looking easy. It will play at Cincinnati on Wednesday and at Nashville on Saturday.

“Number one, you have to tell them the truth, right?” Pineda said. “You have to tell them the reality of where we are, why we are here, what is happening? I think they pretty much agree with that. Some of the conversations we have had are very good. They open up, they talk, they are aware of the situation and are aware of what is happening.”

They are aware.

“We’re in a difficult rough patch right now,” fullback Brooks Lennon said. “But we have to stick together as a team and in an organization and do everything we can to win some games.”

To that end, Pineda said he is borrowing from what worked when he was in Seattle. He has tried to simplify what he expects and the tactics for each player. Pineda said sometimes instead of attempting a simple pass, a player will dribble. Instead of two players pressing, just one presses, which creates disjointedness.

Pineda said the decision-making process is somewhat understandable. When the team isn’t winning, players will try to do more than they should, rather than what they are supposed to do.

“They are feeling like, ‘oh yeah, I have to deal with more, I have to do more’ and then doing more, it’s actually less,” Pineda said. “So I’m trying to simplify for them in that regard. But also the message and the focus, I think we have to start to do some of those simple things.”

Lennon said the coaching staff is doing a good job through video, conversations, training and walk-throughs of making sure the players know what they are supposed to do.

Simplifying doesn’t include changing the team’s style from a possession-based team playing out of a 4-2-3-1 formation, Pineda said.

“I don’t believe in parking the bus and trying to counter,” Pineda said. “I think that gives you less probabilities to win. We are a possession team, we have players that can play very good in possession. We have proven that many, many times. So it’s a matter of getting back to who we are: we are Atlanta United. We have to play good football. We have to be good in possession. We have to create many chances. We have to try to be the proactive team.”

Injury updates. Centerback Stian Gregersen rejoined the team for training on Monday. Tuesday will be the last day he will be in concussion protocol. He suffered the injury during the first half of last week’s U.S. Open Cup win against Charlotte Independence. He was scheduled to play 60 minutes against Charlotte because it was his first match since undergoing surgery on his left knee in late March.

Striker Jamal Thiare (hamstring) also trained with the team on Monday. Centerback Derrick Williams (calf) trained by himself on Monday.

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Atlanta United’s 2024 schedule

Feb. 24 Columbus 1, Atlanta United 0

March 9 Atlanta United 4, New England 1

March 17 Atlanta United 2, Orlando 0

March 23 Toronto 2, Atlanta United 0

March 31 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 0

April 6 Atlanta United 1, NYCFC 1

April 14 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2

April 20 Cincinnati 2, Atlanta United 1

April 27 Atlanta United 1, Chicago 1

May 4 Minnesota 2, Atlanta United 1

May 7 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte Independence 0 in U.S. Open Cup

May 11 D.C. United 3, Atlanta United 2

May 15 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

May 18 at Nashville, 1:30 p.m.

May 25 vs. LAFC, 7:30 p.m.

May 29 at Miami, 7:30 p.m.

June 2 vs Charlotte, 4:30 p.m., FOX

June 15 vs. Houston, 7:30 p.m.

June 19 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

June 22 at St. Louis, 8:30 p.m.

June 29 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

July 3 at New England, 7:30 p.m.

July 6 at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m.

July 13 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 17 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m.

July 20 vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m.

July 26 vs. D.C. United in Leagues Cup, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 4 vs. Santos Laguna in Leagues Cup, 4 p.m.

Aug. 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 31 at Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 14 vs. Nashville, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 vs. Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 5 vs. Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Orlando, 6 p.m.