Atlanta United’s Brad Guzan credits even approach to success

Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan #1 during the first half of the match against Orlando City at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on Sunday March 17, 2024. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Atlanta United)

Credit: Alex Slitz/Atlanta United

Credit: Alex Slitz/Atlanta United

Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan #1 during the first half of the match against Orlando City at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on Sunday March 17, 2024. (Photo by Alex Slitz/Atlanta United)

Brad Guzan’s even approach has been the key to his success this season.

Atlanta United is tied for the fewest goals allowed (7), in part because Guzan has the third-best saves percentage (80), is tied for third-most clean sheets (2) and second for pass-completion percentage (49). Oh, and he has an assist, too.

It’s a bit different from last year, Guzan’s first back in action after sustaining an Achilles injury two years ago, when he received a lot of criticism for his play and the team’s poor defense.

The Guzanaissance, as it has been described by one of the club’s supporters, seems on pace to potentially make him a Best XI candidate.

“When you look at players, it’s important that players have an even mindset,” Guzan said. “And when things are great, it’s probably never as great as you really think. And when things are not so great, and they’re bad, it’s probably not as bad as you think. And the more you can have a steady mindset, a strong mentality a belief and willingness in yourself, you know, normally good things will happen. And, you know, that part for me is never wavered. I always believe in my ability.”

Guzan and the team have been helped by better play on defense. Guzan’s post-shot expected goals minus goals allowed, an indication of shot-stopping ability, is plus-1.4. Last season, it was minus-4.8.

“It’s a collective as well; we win together we lose together,” he said. “There are things that are being asked of individuals, of players in the group at different moments. And it’s all part of it.”

But you still have to make the saves, and Guzan is making them. He stopped a point-blank shot against Philadelphia, got up and kicked the goal post in excitement. It was one of several difficult saves he has made this season.

Guzan said the team’s signing of Josh Cohen didn’t provide any extra motivation for his improved play because he didn’t need any.

“It’s part of the business, you expect these things, to be honest with you,” Guzan said. “I’ve always said we’re a club that wants to push the bar, and you do that by signing good players at every position and unique competition at every position. It’s our job as players to go out and show that we are able and deserving and you need to be able to help the team in whatever way you can. It’s no different for the goalkeeper position.”

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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 vs. Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

April 27 at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.

May 4 vs. Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.

May 11 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

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.