Pineda referenced the issues are the bad luck and poor execution in the final third. As he has said many times, the final touch, the final pass, the final run just aren’t consistent yet.
“We are one of the best teams in possession, we’re trying to disrupt every team we face,” he said. “That’s how we attack, that’s how we create chances. We are working obviously to create better chances. We are perfecting these, again, the consistency of the lineups and how we can have more cohesion.”
Pineda believes that the more the attacking players, Luiz Araujo, Thiago Almada, Marcelino Moreno and likely Ronaldo Cisneros at striker, get to play together, the better the performances will be. He correctly pointed out that last week’s game at Montreal was the first time that Araujo and Almada, two of the team’s three Designated Players, started together. Injuries have prevented that in the previous seven games.
Almada created four chances; Araujo didn’t create any.
“It’s a lot of things, and that’s not magical,” Pineda said. “It’s not like you put three guys together, and they’re going to perform right away. So it takes time. Hopefully, it comes sooner rather than later.”
What the offense does may not matter if the defense continues to give up goals on set-pieces, such as the opener in the loss to Montreal. The team has allowed five this season. When a team is having trouble scoring, giving up goals on set pieces, and not taking advantage of its own, can compound the pressure.
Pineda said the team has worked on both this week. He feels the issues on defense are related to the players not having enough intensity to win the first or second balls.
The team has scored four goals on set pieces (non penalties) on offense on 145 accurate free kicks (not all of which were in the opponent’s half) and corner kicks, according to whoscored.com. Scoring on its set pieces may be the confidence boost the team needs.
“It’s about how we can work together to raise space for others or make tweaks or only put a good delivery there,” he said.
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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 vs. Chicago, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
May 15 vs. New England, 1:30 p.m., ESPN
May 21 at Nashville, 7:30 p.m. FOX
May 28 vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
June 19 vs Miami, 3 p.m., ESPN2
June 25 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
June 30 at New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 3 at NYCFC, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 9 vs. Austin, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 13 vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 17 vs. Orlando, 3 p.m., ABC
July 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 9:30 p.m., FS1
July 30 at Chicago, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
August 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC
August 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE
August 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
August 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1
August 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV
August 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