De Boer’s time in Atlanta ended a couple of days ago when the parties parted “by mutual agreement.” The departure of the Dutch specialist put an end to the unstable interval that darkened the moment when Atlanta’s management decided to change the culture in the locker room. What was to be the evolution of their successful two-year campaign by Gerardo Martino was more like a major overhaul.
De Boer arrived with promises that the team would not be subject to major shocks. “This is evolution, not a revolution,” said Atlanta President Darren Eales at the time.
But that turned off to false very quickly.
For several weeks, the team worked daily on defensive structures, which immediately disarmed some of the main stars. One source who witnessed the coaching reshuffle said that some of the players never gave De Boer a chance, and he did not contribute. Frank’s approach to coaching turned out to be different from Martino’s. If the Argentine man paid attention to detail, De Boer’s permutations had no particular direction.
These nuances prevailed in the internal kitchen. According to many, star striker Josef Martinez has left training in disillusionment more than once. Sometimes the tension spilled out. Former Atlanta center-back Leandro Gonzalez Pirez criticized De Boer’s conservative style in interviews. But what unsettled the team was not tactics, but a lack of ambition on the part of the coach.
But when ESPN’s cameras caught technical director Carlos Bocanegra near the bench and he was giving instructions to Atlanta veteran Jeff Larentowicz in his last game against Columbus, you could have guessed that change was coming.
Three days later, De Boer was packing his suitcases. The club, known for its ambition and with a fanbase accustomed to success, has learned its lesson. De Boer is Atlanta’s first public fail that could have been avoided had the management made an appointment which more suited to the club’s established culture.
Also, you can read Will the Welshman change clubs?