Atlanta United started their attack immediately in their first home match in a month’s time. The crowd was just as plentiful and intense as the first two matches.
Their intense offensive paid off late in the 8’ when Yamil Asad lobbed a perfect ball to Kenwyne Jones who headed the ball into goal.
Their second real chance came in the 17’ when a long ball by Leandro González-Perez erroneously made it through D.C.’s back line to the feet of Kenwyne Jones. It looked like Jones was well on his way to his second goal early on but he took a bad second touch in the final third and a D.C. defender cleared it out of bounds.
Everything was running smooth for Atlanta in the opening quarter… but almost too smooth. Which is why the crowd was hushed when Pirez tried to clear an open ball and completely missed it, leaving an open final third for D.C. United to take advantage. That’s when attempting to cover for Pirez, Michael Parkhurst clipped a shot that went past goalkeeper Alec Kann which was tallied as an Own Goal (OG).
What led to that OG was Atlanta United’s aggression on the offensive side. In a 4-2-3-1 formation, we’re already pushing five midfielders. Five very young, skilled, talented midfielders, so it worries me when we also push players forward on the wings (Greg Garza and Tyrone Mears). That’s how D.C. was able to catch Atlanta out of position because they only had two players back to defend and one of them (Pirez) missed a clearance and had to make up ground.
D.C.’s Luciano Acosta took advantage of some very lazy defending by Atlanta and dribbled through the backline to net a goal in the near-side corner. With this and an OG, D.C. was winning the battle of the United’s 2-1.
Acosta struck again in the second half finding Sebastien Le Toux who was 1 v 1 with Alec Kann and slotted it home near post. With the match sitting at 3-1 in favor of D.C., I was starting to get a Hawks/Wizards Game 6 feeling.
In stoppage time, another 1 v 1 with the keeper came about because our back line was caught out of position again. The keeper was out of position and thankfully González Pirez headed the ball clear.
There is no way in the world D.C. United should have won this game. Atlanta gave this game away on counters and lazy defense (plus an OG that are sadly just part of the game).
The biggest stat of the day that’ll cause any Atlanta fan a headache is their shot tally. ATL took 26 shots and had just one goal to show for it. That is a terrible statistic, especially since they dominated the ball with 73.9% possession.
But the best thing we can take away from this match… At least we didn’t get a red card.
The next match for the Five Stripes will be in New York as they face New York City Football Club on May 7.