Atlanta looks snap long winless streak
Atlanta United will seek to end a nine-game winless streak when they host the Columbus Crew on Saturday.
It will mark the home debut of interim coach Rob Valentino, who replaced Gabriel Heinze. Atlanta United fired their first-year coach on Sunday.
Atlanta (2-4-8, 14 points) rallied for a 1-1 tie at FC Cincinnati in Valentino’s first game on Wednesday and has three losses and six ties since May 23.
“I’m so proud of (the players),” Valentino said. “I feel they did the club proud and the city proud and I’m looking forward to coming home on Saturday.”
The Crew (5-3-6, 21 points) also played to a tie on Wednesday, but the 0-0 result against visiting Nashville SC left coach Caleb Porter disappointed.
Columbus had more shot attempts (18-8) and on goal (7-1) while dominating play in the second half.
“I think it’s one of those where our standards are so high now that if we don’t win we’re going to be disappointed,
and I think it’s that simple,” Porter said. “Even if we’re playing a
Nashville, one of the best teams in the league, and I think that’s the expectation we have now.
“That’s the standards we’ve created and we’re not going to lower the bar. We have to keep pushing, we have to keep grinding and now
we have to go win on the road.”
The Crew are 1-0-4 in the past five games despite missing several starters because of international call-ups and injuries.
“When we get everyone in and healthy and in form and fit, I
think we’ll be scary good,” Porter said.
Atlanta is looking ahead as well. Defender Ronald Hernandez, on loan from Aberdeen FC, scored against Cincinnati in his first start and second game for
the Five Stripes.
Also, star forward Josef Martinez (79 goals and 11 assists in 92 regular-season games) made his first appearance Wednesday since May 29 and nearly scored on a late free kick.