2 teams with a great 2018 but they are having issues in the 2019
In this corner, the SKC that between the Concachampions (only MLS team that came to semis and challenged the Mexican domain) and injuries (transform the lockerroom in a hospital would be more economical) roam the middle of the table. Atlanta, meanwhile, is still accustomed to the game idea of Dutchman Frank De Boer, who has been criticized in his first weeks but who now seems to have found the team, and the sale of Miguel Almirón, the 2018 MVP.
The SKC game
The SKC without 2 of its central and without its center half holder, did not have a clear idea of how to give exit to the equipment from the bottom, one of the cornerstones in the idea of the game of Vermes, not to hurry the exit and to risk losing the ball with long balls, but to go climbing and overcome pressure lines with short passes. Without Ilie, there was no one to give the break and will be shown in the midfield. Gutierrez is not a middle center to get between the central as the Spanish or ask for the ball every time the defenders have it, a prove of this is that Croizet several times to ask the ball even lower than the Chilean.
On the left, Gutiérrez's passes in the 1st half. On the right the passes of Ilie. Although during that time both played the same position, it is observed that they did the same function. The Chilean made passes in a large area of the field and longer passes. On the other hand, Ilie made the majority from the central area and risked less with long balls. Source, MLSsoccer.com
The other midfielder is Rowe, a natural end turned into an inside that I seek to verticalize every time he had the ball, because that is his nature, look for the rival area at risk, he does not have the patience and vision to play horizontally and look for a better opportunity in another field area. The constant searches to Salloi running on the left wing or long balls looking for Nemeth were unsuccessful since the Gonzalez Pires or Robinson won the individual duels to these, who were not in the best position to receive or run into space.
On the left the passes of Felipe Gutiérrez in the 1st half, as a midfielder. On the right passes Ilie (played the last 25 minutes) in the same position as Felipe.
With the entrance of the Ilie, and the Atlanta already without the overwhelming initial pressure, the SKC returned to have the possession. They showed those long possessions that we are used to, they improved in the pressure in the rival field. But they were not clear in the area, among other things because Nemeth, who became the lighthouse he was looking for in SKC, missed a lot of receptions he had inside the area.
The game of Atlanta United
The suffocating pressure in the opposite field, and without an Ilie to guide the exit, forced the SKC to fall into the trap of throwing long balls. The defense was very well positioned to stop those attempts. In the build-up, Remedi played a fundamental role, being placed in the middle of the power stations, and although it cost to them to surpass the lines of pressure of the SKC, they obtained to Boat and Pity several times in a good position to generate damage to the rival. Gressel had a discreet match, not so Barco. Pity went from more to less and ended up being replaced. The movements of Josef delaying to find space paid off in the 3rd goal of the team. Barco's long-distance and long runs, together with his excellent mid-distance shot, were the cause of the first 2 goals.
Passes of Remedi, mostly in short and horizontal, little verticality. Its function was to maintain possession and to despair the rival. Source, MLSsoccer.com
Average position of the 11 Atlanta United starters. The 11 is Remedi and is observed among the center backs (Robinson on 12 and Gonzalez Pires on 5). You can also see Barco (8) pulled more towards the middle, partly because his last 20 minutes were in Pity's starting position, just behind Josef. Source Whoscored.com
With Remedis sub, which was at the same time as the entrance of Ilie in the SKC it caused that the Atlanta lost the control of the party. Now they only had the counterattack as a way to attack, against a very advanced rival and who had improved in their way of pressing.