Tag Archives: Atlanta United

The Polarizing Play of Darlington Nagbe



In a recent outing, Darlington Nagbe banged home an absolute beauty of a goal to help elevate the Columbus Crew over the Chicago Fire. Immediately social media sang his praise and searched for reasons why Nagbe never starred for the United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) or made it big in Europe. The common refrain is he was played out of position, especially given his 2017 Gold Cup performance! Not too long after, the Nagbe detractors added their comments, which came down to the fact he just was not good enough.

While our regular listeners know I tend to fall in the second of those categories, I thought I owed it to the player and the fans to dive a little deeper than just my eye test and personal feelings. Let’s start with his Major League Soccer (MLS) career:

Nagbe is in his tenth season in the MLS. He is currently with the Columbus Crew after spending the last two seasons with Atlanta United, and the prior seven with the Portland Timbers. Per MLSsoccer.com, Nagbe’s career totals include 276 games played, 264 games started, 30 goals, and 38 assists. He’s never reached double digits in goals or assists in a single season, so from a points perspective, he hasn’t done much. For the USMNT, his point totals are even less appealing: 25 appearances, 1 goal, 2 assists.

In that 2017 Gold Cup, Nagbe did not play in the group stage, but was brought in for the knockout rounds. He played nearly every minute in the three knockout games. His stat lines were unimpressive, but he did draw the most fouls in the tournament (15). You can’t draw fouls if you don’t have the ball!

So what is the appeal for Darlington Nagbe?

The USMNT website describes him as a “confident and pacey midfielder,” and his fans point to his passion on the pitch, confidence on the ball, and ability to run at defenders. He is excellent with the ball at his feet and has a knack for getting his teammates involved in the attack. Critics point to the absence of these in international play and the lack of his stats. However, I haven’t been able to find measurable data in the areas in which Nagbe excels – passes and dribbles completed, progressive play, and other possession related categories.

So what can we conclude about Darlington Nagbe? Is anybody “right”?

Nagbe never lit up the score sheet, but no one ever quantitively measured how good he was on the ball. If you rely on “the eye test,” you can find great games and sub-par performances. Nagbe may be one of the best to ever play for Portland and was a solid USMNT call up. He seems pretty content with his career, and we as fans of the game in America should continue to enjoy him for as long as he laces up in MLS. Just don’t try to convince me he’s an American soccer legend that just never got his shot.

Nick Poteres
Host, Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast
@SOPSoccer


MLS in Full Force and World Cup Qualifying



Hey, soccer fans! In tonight’s episode we start with some listener questions on the USWNT and expansion side Sacramento FC. The we dive in to Major League Soccer coverage.

The MLS is back in full force and we recap all the games from the last week, including:

  • Inter Miami’s historic win
  • the return of Pity Martinez
  • the Galaxy’s statement, and
  • Seattle’s reminder of who’s the best in Cascadia.

In the second half we review Concacaf World Cup 2022 qualifying and what the USMNT has to do to make back to world soccer’s biggest stage. The schedule looks favorable to the Yanks, but they still need to perform on the pitch.

Stay tuned for all this and more in tonight’s episode of The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast!

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Replacing Josef, Broadcasting Bias, and MLSisBack Semis



Hey, soccer fans! We are back again, discussing anything and everything in the American soccer landscape. In tonight’s episode, our hosts tackle the following topics:

  • How Atlanta United will try to replace Josef Martinez with Cubo Torres
  • Is Christian Pulisic injury prone, and how injured should USMNT fans be?
  • More transfer rumors for Inter Miami – Willian and Suarez
  • Broadcasting bias in favor and against foreign broadcasters/announcers calling MLS games

We also recap the MLSisBack Tournament quarterfinals and preview the semi-final matchups of Philadelphia vs. Portland and Minnesota vs. Orlando City. Tune in for all this and more with the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast!

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MLSisBack Recap and Repercussions



Hey, soccer fans! Welcome back to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. The MLS is Back Tournament is underway and making headlines. FC Dallas and Nashville SC were withdrawn due to numerous Covid-19 cases on their teams, Group A got reshuffled with Chicago joining Western Conference Group F (San Jose, Seattle, and Vancouver), and play has been rather sloppy.

But games have been played and we’re recapping all the action, including:

  • NYCFC’s injuries and Union’s ascendance
  • Revolution in control of group after TFC collapse
  • Goalkeeper blunders in Sporting KC and MNUFC
  • RBNY stun Atlanta, prove almost everyone wrong
  • LAFC and LA show early struggles

Tune in for all this and more in tonight’s episode of The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast.

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MLSisBack but not Dallas, Group Previews, and Transfer Headlines



Welcome back, soccer fans, to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast! By now you’ve surely heard the news: FC Dallas has been withdrawn from the MLSisBack Tournament due to Covid-19 concerns, Carlos Vela has elected to stay home with his pregnant wife, and Robbie Robinson has been exempted for personal reasons. We’re missing the league’s best player, their possible rookie of the year, and an entire team … but the show must go on!

Listen in on our take on the Dallas new, Groups E and F Previews, and all the transfer headlines, including:

  • Leandro Gonzalez Pirez “LGP” is back in MLS after signing with Inter Miami
  • Jurgen Damm completes his move to Atlanta United
  • Expansion club Austin FC sign their first player: Paraguayan Rodney Redes

Tune in for all this and more in tonight’s episode!

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Listener Questions, MLSisBack Tourney Preview, Americans Abroad Roundup



Hey, soccer fans! Welcome to another episode of The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. Tonight we answer the questions burning in your mind. Specifically:

  • In soccer, is all defense “zone defense”? Would you ever put your best defender as a “spy” on the other team’s best player and have him follow them all over the field?
  • What is your fear of the MLS is Back Tournament being cancelled amid Covid-19 concerns?
  • What’s the best English Premier League team for Weston McKennie to transfer to from Schalke?
  • How many Americans do you see in Europe in the next ten years? Double what the number now?

We also talk MLS headlines, including

  • Chicago Fire’s tournament experience and edge to the new MLS season
  • Jurgen Locadia gets a loan extension and FC Cincy get the option to buy
  • Ezequiel Barco transfer rumors

Finally, we roundup all the USMNT players in England and the Bundesliga. Hear just how well our current and future stars – Pulisic, McKennie, Adams, Brooks, Llanez, Ream, Reyna, Vickers, Robinson, Sargent – performed for their respective clubs. All this and more in tonight’s episode of The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast.

Be sure to subscribe on YouTube to join the next live broadcast and get in on the conversation.

 

 


Soccer and Current Events, Bundesliga Recap, CBA and MLS Orlando Tournament



Hey, soccer fans! Welcome to another episode of the Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. Tonight, we have pleased to talk real soccer as the MLS and the MLSPA have reached a new CBA and have all but officially announced their season tournament in Orlando.

Tune in for additional conversation on:

  • Americans in the Bundesliga: How have our boys fared in Germany?
  • MLS Tournament in Orlando: What’s the format, and what do we want to get out of it?
  • All the details of the new collective bargaining agreement. Mike and Nick give their thoughts on:
    • a raise in player salaries
    • increased chartered flights
    • the impending death of TAM

MLS Headlines, Champions League, and Week 1 Roundup



Hey soccer fans, and welcome back to another episode of The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. In this episode we kick off our third season as a podcast and the 25th season of Major League Soccer. Tune in to hear all the latest headlines, tournament news, and league roundup, including:

Headlines

  • Higuain signs with DC United as a player and a development coach
  • Josef Martinez out for the season. Who does Atlanta United turn to?
  • Bedoya bought down with TAM. Is Philly ready for a shopping spree?

Concacaf Champions League

4 MLS teams remain after Seattle’s early ouster. Nick thinks the odds of an MLS team in the final are pretty good, and there’s even a chance we have an all-MLS semi-finals … Mike brings him back to Earth, but a guy can dream, right? Tune in for a recap of the first round and our thoughts on who has the best chances to advance toward MLS glory.

League Roundup

Week 1 is in the books. The theme: dramatic goals from Designated Players. Vela, Alanis, Beric, Pulido, and Zelarayan all find the back of the next. Tune in for a recap of all the results and our hosts’ quick takes on each.


Team Previews Pt. 6 – Atlanta United, Seattle Sounds, and the MLS CBA



Hello, soccer fans! The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast are back with more team previews. In this episode, our hosts examine two powerhouses of Major League Soccer: Atlanta United and the Seattle Sounders. In each preview, Nick and Mike review the roster (who’s in/who’s out), analyze the Designated Players (DPs), and pick a young player to have a break out season. They conclude each preview with projected starting lineups and predict the ceiling and floor for each team.

Atlanta Untied look to compete for more trophies and have the talent to do so. Could they become the first MLS team to win Concacaf Champions League? Could they match Toronto’s record setting 2016 season? Or will they fall flat and come up empty handed? Tune in to find out.

Meanwhile in the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle Sounders again have a roster built to compete for an MLS Cup. They are experienced, well-coached, and look to be transitioning to a more attacking mindset. If their defense can play at an average level, look for the Sounders to once again be near the top of the Western Conference.

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CCL is Back! and Big Money and Big Signings around MLS



Greetings, soccer fans, and welcome back to The Sons of a Pitch: An American Soccer Podcast. In this episode, your hosts review the draw for the 2020 CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) and give their picks and preliminary positions. Tune in to hear about the favorites, the dark horses, and the teams that could surprise. If you’re not familiar with the tournament, this episode will give you all the knowledge to confidently rant about the games on social media.

In the second half of the show, Nick and Mike discuss the latest headlines from around Major League Soccer (MLS). Tonight, they focus on big names and big money as Sporting KC, Toronto FC, LA Galaxy, and San Jose Earthquakes all made recent headlines. Quickly:

  • SKC sign Alan Pulido
  • TFC sign Michael Bradley
  • LA Galaxy sign Sacha Kljestan
  • San Jose Earthquakes sign Cristian Espinoza
  • Barcelona (rumored to) sign Carlos Vela

These teams have broken the bank to get these players. Will it pay off? Let Nick and Mike give you their unfiltered opinion on the signings … along with which teams have missed out so far (ahem … Chicago).

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