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Coronel's mental game and Red Bulls finishing are poor in Atlanta

photo by Matt Kremkau

by Daniel Feuerstein

I think we all knew that one day Atlanta United was going to earn their first win in the regular season against the New York Red Bulls someday. You thought it was going to be a blowout of a match down in Atlanta at Mercedes Benz Stadium by a three or four-goal margin. Sadly that wasn't the case, because the Red Bulls stingy defense kept them in this match for the entire 90 minutes. 

But in these 90 minutes, a lot went wrong. What we have seen that has gone wrong are two simple things, and one of them is goal scoring. While Corey Burke, Elias Manoel, and now Dante Vanzeir finally got more than just 20 minutes in the second half, their chances were not on frame or barely challenged the goalkeeper. 

We are also seeing some pedestrian play from Luquinhas who can't seem to get himself into proper positions to create or convert chances, outside of a little luck. Yes, it's difficult to not have Lewis Morgan playing in the midfield due to injury at the moment, but you would think there is enough firepower to have several chances go into the net. Something has to go toward the Red Bulls way, and it needs to happen very quickly in these next two games at home.

Now for the second issue toward the Red Bulls, Carlos Coronel hasn't looked at his stellar self since last season. He has made multiple mental gaffes while trying to defend his net. during the second home game against the Columbus Crew, he came well off his line to defend a play outside of the area and allowed a free goal to get converted. 

Now he spilled an easy shot that was converted by Giorgos Giakoumakis off the rebound, and he ventured off again well outside his area to prevent a chance for Atlanta United to double their lead. Thankfully there was a foul called, and he was cut on his forehead for the action. I understand this is the 6th game of the 2023 regular season, but these actions from Coronel will not do. 

He's not a rookie at all, and he should've known better than to put his team in these situations. He hasn't made any mental gaffes like this since his first season with the club back in 2021 where he looked lost at the start of that season. If Coronel continues to play like this to allow cheap, and easy goals to the opposition, then it's time to put in Ryan Meara and allow him to get the starting job back.

The defense has been very stingy against the opposition, and that is a wonderful thing to see, but if the goal-scoring department continues to lack any confidence and the goalkeeper continues to play poorly away from his net, then this season will be a failure and the only way to save the season is to make a change. 

So these next two home games against the San Jose Earthquakes and Houston Dynamo should be very urgent for Gerhard Struber and his coaching staff because Director of Sport Jochen Schneider shouldn't be happy with what he is seeing, and, that leash should be very short right about now.


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