This week in Atlanta sports, Atlanta United fires head coach Gabriel Heinze, the Braves trade for Joc Pederson and the NBA offseason begins.
In the MLS, the Seattle Sounders (8-5-1) lead the Western Conference with 29 points, while the New England Revolution lead the way with 30 points (9-3-3) in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta United is sitting in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with two wins, four losses and seven draws. United suffered a 1-0 against the New England Revolution on Saturday. United had 15 shots, five of them on goal, but weren’t able to find a goal.
Atlanta United has dismissed their head coach Gabriel Heinze of his duties. This comes only 17 games into his tenure. Assistant coach Rob Valentino will take over as interim head coach while United searches for its next gaffer.
Rumors circulated that United star Josef Martinez is thinking about leaving the team. However, during Martinez’s press conference on Tuesday, he reiterated he wanted to stay with United for the rest of his career.
Atlanta United drew 1-1 against FC Cincinnati Wednesday night in the first game under interim head coach Rob Valentine with United's equalizing goal coming in the 70th minute from defender Ronald Hernández.
The Atlanta Braves finds itself at 46-48, 4.5 games behind first in the NL East. The Braves came off the All-Star break dropping 2 of 3 to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Braves made a trade with the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Joc Pederson during the All-Star break to help with the loss of Ronald Acuña Jr. Pederson played well in his first four games with the Braves, with his first two starts yielding two hits each and a home run in the sole win for Atlanta in the Tampa Bay series. The Braves are expected to add more reinforcements before the trade deadline of July 30.
The Braves kicked off its series with the San Diego Padres with a 2-1 win. Touki Toussaint pitched a gem, going 6.2 innings, giving up only three hits and one earned run. Freddie Freeman sent a home run to left field in the sixth inning for what would prove to be the deciding run.
On Wednesday the Braves dropped the second game of the series 3-2 as a sixth-inning Atlanta rally from a 3-0 deficit came up short.
4.5 games back in the division, the Braves is in danger of losing the NL East for the first time in three years. Although this season has been riddled with injuries and bad breaks, the Braves still has a chance to make a late push for its fourth consecutive NL East Title.
The NBA Finals have come to an end. The Milwaukee Bucks won Game Six to win the series 4-2 over the Phoenix Suns.
The Finals MVP was awarded to Giannas Antetokounmpo after having three 40-point performances, including a dominant 50-point game in the closing game of the series.
With the Finals over, the NBA has officially entered the offseason, one that looks to be busy for the Atlanta Hawks. The team will look to retain its key free agents in John Collins and Lou Williams, essentially aiming to bring back the same group that reached the Eastern Conference Finals.
Collins is a restricted free agent, meaning the Hawks has the right to match any offer he receives. Williams is unrestricted, meaning he’s free to sign with anyone but has already expressed a desire to return to Atlanta.
How the Collins situation plays out will be particularly impactful for the future of the Hawks, as he’s an important piece of the Hawks’ young core led by star point guard Trae Young. Losing Collins for nothing would be a major loss for the team.
Hawks head coach Nate McMillan has begun building his staff after signing a four-year deal to be the Hawks permanent head coach. Joe Prunty, a former assistant with the Portland Trail Blazers, and McMillan’s son, Jamelle McMillan, has also been added to the staff.
McMillan is hoping to build on the success he found with the Hawks this season. After taking over for Lloyd Pierce when the Hawks were 14-20, he quickly turned them around, going 27-11 the rest of the way and giving them a fifth seed in the playoffs.
After his historic Eastern Conference Finals run, McMillan and the Hawks hope to continue to improve with their young core.
The WNBA is coming off its All-Star Break that featured Ali Quigley winning her third three-point contest and Arike Ogunbowale taking home MVP honors, scoring 26 points for Team WNBA and leading them to a 93-85 victory over Team USA.
Courtney Williams represented the Dream at the All-Star game. Williams shot 7-8 from the field, scoring 15 points, good for third most on Team WNBA. If the Dream is going to turn it around in the second half of the season, Williams will have to be a big part of that.
The WNBA now moves into a month break for the Olympic Games. The Dream does not have any players on the USA National Team. The Dream will hope to rebound in the second half of the season.
The National Football League is quickly approaching training camp.
Falcons Pro Bowl kicker Younghoe Koo had his Jeep stolen on Saturday night, but of more concern to Koo were his missing cleats. In an Instagram story, Koo asked the culprit to return his cleats so he could get back to kicking.
Koo was one of the biggest bright spots for Atlanta in the 2020 season, making 37 out of 39 field goals including all eight attempts of 50 yards or more.