There are times in life where it’s better to be lucky than good. Tonight’s match in Minnesota is a grand example of that.
The Five Stripes had a chilly affair in front of them as they took on Minnesota United FC on a windy, 18-degree evening. The luck for Atlanta came in the form of an early own-goal which put them up 1-0 but that would be the only handout they’d get.
As the night grew colder and the wind continued to whip, Atlanta United went down a man after Leandro Gónzalez-Pirez was issued a second yellow card in the 38′, they never found the back of the net, and to make matters worse, the referee added seven minutes of extra time (which turned into eight) on top of the 90.
Was it a good win? No. Was it an impressive win? Absolutely. On top of having to work twice as hard for 50+ minutes, Jeff Larentowicz went down with a knock in the second half.
Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu made his first MLS appearance in the second half to support the backline. Chris McCann impressed at center back as manager Tata Martino opted to push Greg Garza higher to left wing. Miguel Almirón, Tito Villalba, Darlington Nagbe, and Julian Gressel round out the midfield.
While the team as a whole dug deep to pull out a win with the odds stacked against them, my Man of the Match has to go to Brad Guzan. “This is a big step forward for us. When people think of Atlanta United they think of pretty football and tonight we showed another side” Guzan stated post-match. “We showed that we could compete and that we could battle. We were down a man for more than half the game, so to win in these circumstances is fantastic.”
Minnesota United had more than a few good looks in the first half, but after Pirez’s ejection, they pelted Guzan mercilessly. The pressure was constant as The Loons had 71% possession, 13 shots, and a staggering 45 crosses.
The Five Stripes put forth a valiant effort once down to 10 men. They’ve managed pretty well while their two most recent signings are still out injured (Franco Escobar and Ezequiel Barco). LGP will miss the next match because of his red card, Larentowicz appeared to suffer a leg injury,
Atlanta United’s next match will be Saturday, April 7 as they take on MLS newcomers Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC). This will be the first of two home matches for the club. Their second match is against NYCFC
Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD