“We’ve got to be able to win these games because it’s what we all want, the players, the club, everyone, is to make the playoffs,” he said.
A focus during the training sessions has been on finishing chances. It has been an issue in most games this season and was why the team could no better than draw with NYCFC despite creating several opportunities to score a second deciding goal.
After the NYCFC game, Pineda lamented how sometimes what should be simple is made too complicated, such as a pass or run. After watching film and the good training sessions, Pineda said he thinks the players understand.
“They’re very hungry,” he said. “They’re ready to go.”
Knowing that it missed an opportunity against NYCFC isn’t exclusively why the team’s recent training sessions were better. Pineda, who arrived in midseason, said he and his assistants have been gradually increasing the intensity of the sessions. The players are starting to understand the process and perform in positive ways.
“This week has been very completely unique week in terms of principles applied, game rhythm with the football, playing at pace, good finishing,” Pineda said. “So we are pleased with the preparation. Hopefully that can impact the game tomorrow and the following games because we are super happy about what we’ve seen on the field.”
Miami will be a motivated opponent.
Like Atlanta United, it is competing to make the playoffs. Unlike Atlanta United, it doesn’t control its fate. Five points behind seventh place, it must win its remaining three games and then will need help. It has won its past two games against bottom-dwellers Toronto and Cincinnati 8-1 to keep alive its slim hopes.
“We have three finals left, and we are going to fight until the end,” Miami’s Julian Carranza said, using a familiar theme.
Barco said whichever team scores first should have the advantage. Statistically, he is correct. Atlanta United is 11-3-5 when it scores first, including 8-0-3 at home.
“We know they’re going to come in and be competitive,” he said. “But we also have to show what we are able to do. We’re feeling confident and playing at home, so we’ll just have to do our best to take advantage of the spaces that Miami offers.”
For more content about Atlanta United
Follow me on Twitter @DougRobersonAJC
On Facebook at Atlanta United News Now
On Instagram at DouglasDavidRoberson
Atlanta United coverage on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta United’s 2021 MLS schedule
April 17 Atlanta United 0, Orlando 0
April 24 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 1
May 1 New England 2, Atlanta United 1
May 9 Atlanta United 1, Inter Miami 1
May 15 Atlanta United 1, Montreal 0
May 23 Atlanta United 1, Seattle 1
May 29 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2
June 20 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2
June 23 NYCFC 1, Atlanta United 0
June 27 Atlanta United 0, New York Red Bulls 0
July 3 Chicago 3, Atlanta United 0
July 8 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2
July 17 New England 1, Atlanta United 0
July 21 Atlanta United 1, Cincinnati 1
July 24 Columbus 1, Atlanta United 0
July 30 Orlando 3, Atlanta United 2
Aug. 4 Atlanta United 2, Montreal 2
Aug. 7 Atlanta United 3, Columbus 2
Aug. 15 Atlanta United 1, LAFC 0
Aug. 18 Atlanta United 1, Toronto 0
Aug. 21 Atlanta United 2, D.C. United 1
Aug. 28 Nashville 2, Atlanta United 0
Sept. 10 Atlanta United 3, Orlando 0
Sept. 15 Atlanta United 4, Cincinnati 0
Sept. 18 Atlanta United 3, D.C. United 2
Sept. 25 Philadelphia 1, Atlanta United 0
Sept. 29 Atlanta United 1, Inter Miami 0
Oct. 2 Montreal 2, Atlanta United 1
Oct. 16 Atlanta United 2, Toronto 0
Oct. 20 Atlanta United 1, NYCFC 1
Oct. 27 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Oct. 30 vs. Toronto, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Nov. 3 at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., FS1
Nov. 7 at Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE