- Atlanta's 7-0 rout of New England was a crossroads event for both teams: The expansion side is on a meteoric rise, while the Revs parted ways with manager Jay Heaps and lack direction.
There is no revenge for Super Bowl LI—not for the Atlanta Falcons and certainly not for owner Arthur Blank. It was too important, too historic and too brutal ever to be wiped away. Compared to that debacle, an MLS regular season game is insignificant.
But the 7-0 beatdown administered by Blank’s Atlanta United on Robert Kraft’s New England Revolution—while not revenge—certainly will reverberate. Last Wednesday’s game was a crossroads for both teams.
For the Revs, it kicked off a humiliating four-day stretch that culminated in coach Jay Heaps’s firing (announced Tuesday morning). For Atlanta, it cemented the expansion side as the team to watch during the MLS stretch run.
The Supporters' Shield’s destination is academic at this point. It’s bound for Toronto either this week or next. And the squads jostling for the final couple playoff spots in the West are mediocre.
But Atlanta—this is a bold, fast, dynamic side that scores beautiful goals and draws massive crowds, and it has games in hand over the Eastern teams above it. A home playoff game, perhaps even second place, are at stake. Atlanta’s rise will be the story in the weeks to come.
The 7-0 rout and Heaps’s subsequent dismissal also highlighted the respective commitments to their soccer teams made by Blank and Kraft. And while Blank can’t afford to be smug—that highlight is no Lombardi Trophy—United fans can afford to feel pretty good about their team’s direction. No expense was spared in making Mercedes-Benz Stadium as much a downtown home for the soccer club as it is for the Falcons. A state-of-the-art, dedicated soccer training facility is up and running. United’s academy won a title in its first season and already fields potential pros. And the commitment to scouting and signing top foreigners, from coach Gerardo Martino to the likes of Miguel Almirón and Josef Martínez, is clear.
Kraft and the Revs have none of that, and they had a 20-year head start. And so Atlanta rises and New England falls in this week’s ranking: