Atlanta United beat the Philadelphia Union 2-0 in Philadelphia. Tonight’s win comes after a late, comeback loss to FC Dallas just three nights ago in Texas. Their next test will be a home matchup against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, July 15.
The first half was dead even with both clubs having fair chances but, the second half belonged to United. Goals came from Josef Martinez and Tito Villalba. Miguel Almirón was brought down in the penalty area by Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake who was given a yellow card caution. Martinez converted the penalty try to score his 17th goal of the season, pushing him six goals ahead of second place of New York Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips in the MLS Golden Boot race. The second goal was set up beautifully by a combination of passes from Almirón and Martinez with a finish from Villalba (Ezequiel Barco started the play with a perfect through ball). Plays like this are what make the beautiful game what it is.
Numbers don’t lie and Atlanta United did a great job of holding their composure. The Union, specifically Alejandro Bedoya, were still visibly shaken from their last encounter in Atlanta (where Philadelphia went nuts and earned two red cards). United earned a single yellow card and committed seven fouls while the Union committed 17 fouls and earned two yellow cards.
Atlanta came out in the second half with a potent offensive attack. Keeping their play clean, they were only called offside one time and earned six corners. Tactically, the club gets an A- on the night. Barco was better on the ball, finding space and connecting with teammates in different areas of the pitch. The multiple spats with Bedoya should’ve earned him a red but also showed their frustration with keeping up with the youngster. Mikey Ambrose struggled on the left flank which was disappointing since his last home performance was so great and continued in Dallas a few days ago. Leandro Gónzalez-Pirez and Franco Escobar played an excellent game holding down the backline. LGP took part in Atlanta’s attack from time to time, including a counterattack where he launched a through ball almost 25 yards to Miguel Almirón to keep the pressure on the Union.
My Man of the Match goes to Miguel Almirón. His pace and ability to draw men off the ball played a huge part in the United attack tonight. The lads will return to Atlanta and prepare for their clash with the Seattle Sounders next Sunday.
*Photos: Courtesy of ATL UTD