Atlanta United took on the LA Galaxy in their midweek matchup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. While LA Galaxy boasts a roster riddled with stars like the Dos Santos brothers (Giovani & Jonathan), Ashley Cole, and Romain Alessandrini to name a few, their current run of form is one to forget.
The only changes to Atlanta’s starting XI were the return of Leandro Gónzalez-Pirez and the insertion of Chris McCann at left back.
The Five Stripes struck quick when Yamil Asad penetrated the box in the 12′ and sent a low cross to Josef Martinez for the easy tap-in. Disaster struck once again in the 16′ when Galaxy keeper Jon Kempin was pushed to the brink with three back-to-back shot attempts. The first try by Tito Villalba was deflected, Miguel Almirón’s shot was blocked, but Yamil Asad’s volley found the back of the net.
In the 20′ minute Tito Villalba penetrated the wide box and got so close to the keeper that a light tap towards the center of goal beat Kempin and Yamil Asad one-timed it home for the 3-nil lead.
The match was forever changed in the 40′ when Jermaine Jones was penalized for a tackle on Tito Villalba. Jones was given a red card and ejected from the match. Right after the whistle, it took Atlanta all of 40 seconds to score when they were in a 3 v 2 with a Galaxy defender and the keeper. Almirón went the distance and opted not to lay the ball off to Martinez and instead chipped the keeper for United’s fourth goal of the night.
The second half was a completely different story for Atlanta. Their attack was spotty at times and they weren’t able to find the back of the net against the 10-man LA Galaxy. Without any goals and minimal shot attempts, the second half was uneventful… Until the 82′.
Brandon Vasquez had come on for Miguel Almirón and just two minutes in committed a foul on Galaxy defender Michael Ciani. What was initially blown as a yellow card was changed to red after talking with the sideline official. Still unsure of the call the referee signaled for video review and decided the red card would stand. The first red card on Jermaine Jones was harsh and this call on Brandon Vasquez was even worse (both looked like yellows).
With both squads down to 10-men, the match came to a stalemate in the closing minutes. Atlanta United picked up another vital 3 points and there was continued woe for the LA Galaxy.
My man of the match tonight is Yamil Asad. Asad notched two goals and a vital assist to help Atlanta’s goal differential tally and help the squads’ final push towards the playoffs.
Atlanta United will take on the Montreal Impact on Sunday, September 24 at 5:00 p.m. in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Photo: Courtesy of ATLUTD