Atlanta United defender Michael Parkhurst (3) slides across the field to kick the ball during the match between NYC FC and Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on Sunday, April 15, 2018. (REANN HUBER/REANN.HUBER@AJC.COM)
Photo: Reann Huber
Photo: Reann Huber

Suboptimal recap of Atlanta United on Men in Blazers

In a suboptimal way that would probably make Roger Bennett and Michael Davies proud, neither Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez nor Miguel Almiron knew too much about the English duo, otherwise known as Men in Blazers, but they stole their show on Monday at The Tabernacle.

The Men in Blazers, who have a podcast as well as a TV show on NBC Sports, held a live show at The Tabernacle downtown as part of MLS All-Star Week, which will culminate with Wednesday’s game against Juventus at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The show featured several guests: Atlanta United captain Michael Parkhurst, goalkeeper Brad Guzan, president Darren Eales, former Juventus standout Edgar Davids and rapper Waka Flocka.

The theme was Atlanta United’s sudden rise in MLS and world soccer. 

The story was told with an entertaining mix of self-deprecation, appreciation of the folically challenged, soccer insight regarding Phil Woosnam’s place in Atlanta’s soccer history, and R-rated chanting, with references throughout to Waffle House, Rodrigo Blankenship, Migos, Liverpool, Everton and, of course, beer.

But the biggest cheers and laughs came when Almiron, Martinez and interpreter Justin Veldhuis took the stage.

Though he doesn’t understand a lot of English, and doesn’t speak it, Almiron was very funny. He corrected Davies body language when pantomiming all of the passes Almiron makes with his right foot.

Almiron jumped up and showed him that he does it with his left foot.

“We had a really good time, myself and Josef,” Almiron said. “We enjoyed ourselves a lot.”

Asked why he’s not as funny in other interviews as he was for the Men in Blazers, Almiron said, “we were just having a good time. I felt really comfortable with my friends.”

After soaking up the chant “Jo, Josef Martinez” chant done to the tune of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” from the 3,000 or so in attendance, Martinez, who rarely has spoken English in interviews, did so in thanking his teammates, including Almiron, and the team’s supporters for his success this season.

“I loved it and I hope to be there next time,” Martinez said.

It was pointed out that Jose Mourinho started as an interpreter, prompting both Bennett and Davies to introduce Veldhuis as Manchester United’s future manager.

Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino and the coaching staff arrived late to the show because they were at a welcome banquet earlier in the evening. 

Bennett pointed him out and the spotlight found him, causing Atlanta United’s supporters to break into a “Ta, Tata Martino” chant. 

When Eales came to the stage for his interview to discuss Atlanta United’s past, present and future, Martino pulled out his cellphone and took a photo. It was an odd moment during an odd and fun night.

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