Atlanta United training sessions not same heading into NYCFC

Credit: Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

Credit: Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

Eliminated from making the MLS playoffs, Atlanta United’s training sessions ahead of Sunday’s finale against NYCFC didn’t have the same energy as in past weeks, manager Gonzalo Pineda said Thursday.

The team (10-13-10) was eliminated from the postseason race with their 2-1 loss Saturday at New England. It will be only the second time in six seasons that the team failed to make the playoffs.

“Still disappointed,” Pineda said. “It’s not the same, obviously. But we have to do what we have to do. We have to go through the sessions. The sessions have been OK. So, just trying to continue and trying to prepare the team for Sunday.”

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Pineda and midfielder Amar Sejdic, who will be out of his contract at season’s end, searched Thursday for positives about Sunday’s match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Pineda referenced possibly defeating the reigning champs, which knocked them out of the playoffs in last year’s first round.

Sejdic referenced going out with a good feeling.

“I think it’s an opportunity for all the guys to kind of finish out the season on a strong note, a positive note,” Sejdic said. “Kind of go into the offseason in a good mood and then just look forward to next year. So I think it just, it’s a good way to close it and close it off.”

Pineda and Sejdic said it’s important to them that the team’s supporters see a good performance. The club again will lead MLS in announced average attendance.

“I think without the fans of this club, I don’t think you have a club to begin with,” Sejdic said. “So their energy and their support and their passion, honestly, those fuel, I think that’s what kind of brings a different energy and fire out of us at home. And when they’re rooting for us in that 89th minute, and we’re able to score goals in the last couple of minutes, like it comes from them. It’s that adrenaline, it’s that energy, it’s that passion.

“And it may not be a game that has real value to it, since we are out of playoffs. Nonetheless, I think it’s a game that everyone’s going to leave everything on the field as we prepare for next season. So I think that needs to be on everybody’s mind is we fell short of our objectives this year, but next year we’re going to come back stronger and better.”

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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule

Feb. 27 Atlanta United 3, Sporting KC 1

March 5 Colorado 3, Atlanta United 0

March 13 Atlanta United 2, Charlotte 1

March 19 Atlanta United 3, Montreal 3

April 2 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 0

April 10 Charlotte 1, Atlanta United 0

April 16 Atlanta United 0, Cincinnati 0

April 24 Miami 2, Atlanta United 1

April 30 Montreal 2, Atlanta United 1

May 7 Atlanta United 4, Chicago 1

May 15 Atlanta United 2, New England 2

May 21 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2

May 28 Columbus 2, Atlanta United 1

June 19 Atlanta United 2, Miami 0

June 25 Toronto 2, Atlanta United 1

June 30 New York Red Bulls 2, Atlanta United 1

July 3 Atlanta United 2, NYCFC 2

July 9 Austin 3, Atlanta United 0

July 13 Atlanta United 2, Real Salt Lake 1

July 17 Atlanta United 1, Orlando 1

July 24 L.A. Galaxy 2, Atlanta United 0

July 30 Atlanta United 0, Chicago 0

August 6 Atlanta United 2, Seattle 1

August 13 Atlanta United 2, Cincinnati 2

August 17 New York Red Bulls 2, Atlanta United 1

August 21 Atlanta United 2, Columbus 2

August 28 Atlanta United 3, D.C. United 2

August 31 Philadelphia 4, Atlanta United 1

Sept. 4 Portland 2, Atlanta United 1

Sept. 10 Atlanta United 4, Toronto 2

Sept. 14 Atlanta United 1, Orlando 0

Sept 17 Atlanta United 0 Philadelphia 0

Oct. 1 New England 2, Atlanta United 1