Atlanta United suffered their third loss in three attempts in Washington D.C. While this is the club’s first loss since July 4, they also missed out on clinching a playoff spot, Josef Martinez’s goal-scoring streak comes to an end, and the club drops to second place in the Supporters Shield standings.
Atlanta United came out in their favorite 4-2-3-1 formation. Chris McCann was a familiar face on the backline but Julian Gressel was not. I’m sure that experiment only happened because of Franco Escobar’s absence (injury). George Bello made his MLS debut in the 76′ and United played the final 14 minutes with two strikers as Romario Williams was a late sub for Ezequiel Barco.
Jeff Larentowicz got his first goal of the season with a header from a set-piece but, that was overshadowed by the horrific penalty call in the 53′. A penalty kick was given after Ezequiel Barco appeared to have fouled Paul Arriola in the box, but after a closer look, Barco, in fact, made no contact. The officials opted not to use VAR and Atlanta United was rightly fuming.
Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta have really built an incredible rapport since the Englishman’s arrival. The duo was responsible for all of D.C. United’s goals and took advantage of Atlanta’s attack-heavy formation change late in the match.
No doubt the loss will sting a bit. Fortunately, the boys have two weeks off thanks to the international break. Hopefully, this will provide enough time to make some necessary adjustments before the five stripes make a late playoff push.
Their next match is Sept. 15 at the Colorado Rapids, then Sept. 19 at the San Jose Earthquakes.
Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD