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Three Questions: How Atlanta United have taken MLS by storm

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We checked in with Dirty South Soccer for some insight into the secrets of their early success.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Wondering how Atlanta United have made such an impressive start to life in MLS? We talked to Dirty South Soccer to find out.

You can find our replies to their questions here.


1. There has been a lot of hype around Atlanta, and a lot of talking heads keen to bring them down a peg as a result. Where do expectations really lie among fans for the inaugural season with four games played?

Before the season began, I think most fans set their expectations high and felt Atlanta United could make the playoffs their first year. Now, with the start the club has had, that belief is stronger than ever. Really the only valid argument I heard from those skeptic talking heads was that Atlanta is an expansion side and all the usual negatives that are associated with that label will eventually bite them (lack of team chemistry, history of poor starts, travel conditions in MLS, etc.) However, using that as a blanket statement without looking at the differences between the makeup of past expansion rosters and United's is where many of those talking heads could be proven wrong by the end of the season. It's still too early to say that though, but that won't stop the fans from dreaming big.

2. Who should Toronto fans watch out for as a danger man with Josef Martinez out injured?

Although they don't play the same position, Miguel Almiron has the potential to be one of the most creative midfielders in MLS. He was courted by Arsenal and Chelsea last season while playing for Lanus in Argentina, so the quality is there. Almiron's dribbling and ability to keep the ball from other midfielders is fun to watch, his passing and vision are incredible at times and he's capable of wonderful strikes. With two goals and two assists to his name already, he'll be relied on heavily by Atlanta on Saturday to create opportunities, especially with Martinez out.

3. Much was made of Atlanta's attacking options, but their defensive record looks good through three games too. How has that unit settled in so far?

The defence has done a surprisingly good job to start the season. Heading into an inaugural campaign, most immediately assumed the backline would struggle simply because none of the defenders have played together before. That, for the most part, has not been the case.

Greg Garza has been one of the better left-backs in MLS so far, with two Team of the Week honours. Tata Martino loves to get the full-backs upfield, but each plays a different role when joining the attack. Garza likes to make overlapping runs or cut into midfield, while Tyrone Mears prefers to cross the ball into the box. It's an interesting contrast and one that makes Atlanta tougher to defend.

Meanwhile, our centre-back pairing has also done quite well. When Leandro Gonzalez Pirez is on the pitch, Atlanta hasn't conceded a goal during the run of play. He's a tank, but can also pass downfield to a sprinting winger at a moment's notice.

Lastly, Michael Parkhurst is exactly what you expect from an MLS veteran. He doesn't make too many mistakes and is a vocal leader. Overall, Atlanta hasn't conceded a goal in the last 240 minutes of play. That's a stat no one in Atlanta could've anticipated.