Former Barcelona and Argentina boss, Tata Martino, made his managerial debut in MLS at the helm of Atlanta United on a mixed night for the Georgians
If the 55,000 sell-out crowd at the Bobby Dodd Stadium was anything to go by, Atlanta is more than ready to embrace its new MLS franchise and for 75 minutes, Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino’s side looked equally up to the challenge. New York Red Bulls comeback may have crushed any hopes of a triumphant MLS debut for United but there was plenty to be optimistic about for Tatalanta.
Since Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank announced his plans for the city’s soccer team and the league announced United would be an expansion franchise in 2014, the buzz around United has steadily grown. Blank’s shrewd decisions and ambitious appointments resulted in a staggering 30,000 season tickets sold before a ball was kicked and subsequently Sunday night’s sell-out.
The announcement of Tata Martino as manager back in September was arguably the first sign of real intent. While the 54-year-old had only recently walked away from the Argentina national team job after consecutive Copa America final defeats and had been deemed a failure for his brief tenure in charge of Barcelona, it was a bold move that injected further energy into MLS’ newest club.
Ambition doesn’t equal success and however much of a name Martino is, his appointment was, and still is, a gamble.