ATLANTA (AP) — For his first few months at Atlanta United, Frank de Boer seemed headed toward another short coaching stint.
A possible strike three, to borrow a metaphor from another sport.
Then, in just a couple of weeks, it all turned around.
With three straight victories, Atlanta finally resembles the team that captured the MLS Cup title in just its second season and quickly became the league’s flagship franchise.
The latest triumph came Wednesday night, a 2-0 victory over Toronto FC in a showdown between the last two MLS champions.
“You saw the confidence growing,” de Boer said. “This is what you want, of course. We can improve and we have to improve, but this is a big step forward against a very good team.”
It wasn’t even close. United held a dominating 19-8 edge in shots, banging two off the post in addition to having two other apparent goals nullified by offside calls. Toronto didn’t manage a single shot on net, making it rather easy for Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan to post his third consecutive shutout.
The winning streak has certainly relieved the heat on de Boer, whose last two coaching jobs were measured in months…