Atlanta United

Gonzalo Pineda on how Atlanta United can create more chances for Josef Martinez

Chris Smith
Martinez was isolated against the Rapids on Saturday.
Martinez was isolated against the Rapids on Saturday. / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

One of the standout stats from Atlanta United's 3-0 defeat to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday was Josef Martinez's 28 touches.

No player on the pitch for the full 90 minutes had fewer and, for context, center-back Alan Franco had a remarkable 115 touches.

Martinez had just one shot throughout the match with an xG value of only 0.03, leaving him goalless across the opening two games of the 2022 MLS season.

It's too early to panic, but if the Five Stripes are to be successful - as their fans demand them to be - Gonzalo Pineda must ensure the club's record goalscorer is as involved as possible and given a regular supply of chances.

“Well, there were a few half chances there, but not really the ones that we want our striker to have," Pineda told reporters after Saturday's defeat.

"Again, today, not just Josef, but overall the team didn’t create enough clear chances. It’s reflected in the expected goals stat, but again kudos to Colorado for executing their plan. They played a lower block and then in transition were more dangerous than us.

"We will improve on that style, trying to break lines better, trying to move the ball faster side to side. Try to occupy the spaces we want to occupy to create more and better chances in the final third. We will try to improve for next time."

Midfielder Amar Sejdić believes it's a simple case of the team becoming more accustomed to each other's movements to progress the ball into areas where Martinez can do damage. Naturally, this is a process that can still be underway this early into a season.

"Just playing the football that we play. We are all players who understand the game well," Sejdić said.

"Reading his movements, him reading our movements for when we can slip him in behind. When we can play a third-man pass and get into those crossing areas and cutback areas for him. It’s a team sport, it’s 11 guys on the field and it’s important to understand one another and learn to play together to be successful down the road.”