Atlanta United fell to FC Dallas 3-2 Wednesday night at Toyota Stadium in Dallas, TX. Josef Martinez scored twice, notching his league-leading 17th goal, but two late goals from FC Dallas ultimately sunk Atlanta, snapping the team’s seven-game road unbeaten streak.

For just the fifth time this season in MLS play, Atlanta United allowed the first goal of the match as Reto Ziegler curled in a free kick attempt from about 30 yards out in the 22′. Ziegler’s attempt rose just above the wall and snuck into the right corner, beating Brad Guzan to the goalkeeper’s left.

But Atlanta equalized before halftime as Martinez scored his first goal of the match in the 41′. Tito Villalba darted into the box and played a low cross into the middle of the six-yard box where Martinez slid and hammered the ball into the near corner. He scored again in the 73′ with a left-footed finish that was pure class.

ATLUTD Jeff Larentowicz
Atlanta United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz fights to win a 50-50 ball Wednesday night at Toyota Stadium in Dallas, TX

However, second-half substitute Tesho Akindele scored twice in the final five minutes to bring FC Dallas back. He equalized in the 86′ after Maxi Urruti flicked him free down the left wing. Streaking in alone, he beat Guzan near-side. Two minutes later, following a corner kick, Akindele had a loose ball gifted to him (fell right to his feet) and immediately capitalized to give FC Dallas the lead.

So what happened in the final five minutes? Was it the heat? “I believe the weather wasn’t difficult to play in. If the weather didn’t affect us in the first five minutes of the game, then we were fine throughout the rest of the game. I don’t think it can affect us all in the last five minutes of the game. We just made errors and lost concentration of
the match.” Just a few minutes later when Mikey Ambrose was asked the same thing, his response was a bit different. When asked about FC Dallas’ second goal he said, “I think
tactically we lost a little bit of concentration. We were tired and really hot, but we all
have to be better on the back line. Keep the concentration for the full 90 minutes. All of us.”

Atlanta United (11-4-4, 37 points) returns to action Saturday when they travel to play Philadelphia Union on Saturday, July 7 at Talen Energy Stadium. (7:00 p.m., FOX Sports Southeast, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game). I think the lads can collect themselves after this and hopefully learned a thing or two, something Julian Gressel echoed. “To give it (the match) away in those last five minutes is frustrating and, obviously, something we’ll
learn from and have to be better, ultimately.”


-Jon J.

Photos: Courtesy of ATL UTD

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