Atlanta United wants to create more chances early

Atlanta United's Marcelino Moreno dribbles, leaving behind Orlando's Facundo Torres. Atlanta United leads MLS in key passes, but those chances created aren’t leading to goals. (Miguel Martinez /Miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com)

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Atlanta United's Marcelino Moreno dribbles, leaving behind Orlando's Facundo Torres. Atlanta United leads MLS in key passes, but those chances created aren’t leading to goals. (Miguel Martinez /Miguel.martinezjimenez@ajc.com)

Atlanta United leads MLS in key passes, but those chances created aren’t leading to goals.

The team is atop the league with 233 key passes but is tied for 15th in goals scored with 29.

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Creating chances is a common positive listed by Atlanta United’s players and manager Gonzalo Pineda. First, Luiz Araujo and then Aiden McFadden referenced that Thursday ahead of Saturday’s game at Chicago. Pineda, the last person interviewed, also discussed how the team is crafting opportunities.

Now it just needs to score.

Pineda disagreed that the team is creating more chances because it often is chasing games. He acknowledged that the team is bleeding goals in the opening 15 minutes of games. It has allowed eight goals in the opening 15 minutes of games. When opponents score first, Atlanta United is 0-7-3.

“We talk a lot about that, start from the whistle, let’s be alert, let’s be in the game,“ Pineda said. “But still we’re conceding goals, right?”

In three of its past four games, Atlanta United’s opponent scored first, and those goals came in the opening 15 minutes. Chasing a playoff spot, Atlanta United took one of those possible nine points.

The one game that Atlanta United won during that four-game stretch, it scored first. That goal came in the opening 15 minutes against Real Salt Lake. When the team creates chances and scores first, it is 6-2-2.

“If instead of chasing the game, what if now the opponent is chasing the game, and maybe we have good players also for transition. ... We can be very effective in transition,” Pineda said. “But I get your point, we are bleeding goals at times in the first 10-15 minutes of the games, and that’s becoming an issue that we are trying to address, and we are trying to fix. So hopefully this game we can go in at halftime with a clean sheet.”

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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 at Chicago, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC

Aug. 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 21 at Columbus, 5:30 p.m., FS1

Aug. 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV

Aug. 31 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m., FS1

Sept. 4 at Portland, 5:30 p.m., FOX

Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 14 at Orlando, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 17 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 1 at New England, 1 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 9 vs. NYCFC, TBD, BSSO/BSSE