Atlanta refuses to die, Seattle’s playoff path looks grim & more from Week 32

Here is a good and lengthy Gonzalo Pineda answer about how he’s had to juggle both personnel and tactics throughout the year, and what’s going right now for a Five Stripes team that is suddenly three unbeaten and just two points below the line.

“We used two fullbacks, really three in Andrew Gutman, Brooks Lennon and Ronald Hernandez almost at the same time,” Pineda explained about how his side played on Saturday. “You have to improvise a little bit and find different shapes, different formations. Again, I’m not big on formation, if you look at the 4-2-3-1, but where on the field. What part of the field is important. That’s more of the defensive shape at times that we use, but after that we have so many structures within the team.

“It’s the structures that matter to me against certain opponents. I felt that today was more of a 4-3-3 in attack or even a 2-3-2-3, trying to put Amar [Sejdic] and Thiago [Almada] in between the lines, and when their midfielder was going to our fullback, we were finding those players and trying to switch the point of attack. I felt the players did a great job with that.”

Getting guys like Gutman, Lennon and Hernandez healthy has been crucial for this recent push (Gutman has been Atlanta’s best player since returning to the lineup), while at the same time, Almada and Santi Sosa have both leveled up.

I really thought, a month ago, that Atlanta was done. But the door’s been left open, and if there was more season left, I think I’d bet on them figuring out how to walk through it. But they’re chasing teams that all have a game in hand, so it feels too little, too late.

For the Union the draw, combined with LAFC’s win, put control of the Supporters’ Shield race back in Black-and-Gold. In MLS the first tiebreaker is total wins, so if both teams win out and finish on 70 points, LAFC will get the trophy despite Philly’s record goal differential.

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