Tata Martino chose the most unlikeliest of places to rebuilt a damaged coaching reputation, but the former Barca boss has been spectacular in MLS
After the bitter disappointments of Barcelona and Argentina, there is a smile back on the face of Gerardo Martino after his Atlanta United side wrote themselves into MLS history this week, becoming the fourth expansion team to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The dominant 3-0 win over Philadelphia Union sealed a spot in the Playoffs, making Atlanta only the fourth team to confirm their place with four rounds of the regular season remaining.
Appointing an established coach like Martino and investing heavily in the squad came with its own set of pressures but expectations were still relatively low for a side in their first year in MLS. However, this week’s victory made it seven unbeaten and more impressively twelve unbeaten at the raucous Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Not since the Seattle Sounders in 2009 has a club reached the playoffs in the first year; Atlanta have not only managed that with relative ease but will be a side that few will want to face in the knockout stages.
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