Atlanta United vs FC Dallas. (Photo: Karl L. Moore)

FC Dallas held Atlanta United to the sword 2-1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in front of 43,351 fans. FC Dallas was dominated statistically but the confidence in their counterattack and gameplan was the deciding factor in tonight’s match. Jesús Ferreira and Bryan Acosta provided the goals for FC Dallas while a late penalty gave Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez an opportunity at goal.

FC Dallas’ Jesús Ferreira scored the first goal of the match in the 6′. After receiving a low cross inside the 18, Ferreira was composed facing Brad Guzan and slotted it home in the bottom right corner.

After a slew of no-calls, the game started getting chippy around the 55′. Leandro González-Pirez was called for a hard foul and was fortunate to not pick up his second yellow card. A few minutes later, Ezequiel Barco was brought down by Matt Hedges who received his first yellow. Jeff Larentowicz was called for a hard foul and was given a yellow in the 61′. Michael Barrios brought down LGP (who was furious that a card wasn’t given) in the 62′. A few seconds later, yet, another yellow was issued, this time to Barrios. All throughout the 60, chaos ensued.

With 15 shots from the five stripes, four managed to be on target. They had two chances within a minute, then FC Dallas goalkeeper José Luis González kicked the ball out of bounds. After what appeared to be a slight knock, he immediately went down, which drew immediate ire from Atlanta players. Julian Gressel was incensed that he wasn’t given a corner on his low cross attempt and Michael Parkhurst approached the referee about Dallas’ timewasting. González would eventually receive a yellow card in the 74′ for that offense.

“The referee has to rise to action with this type of timewasting, especially with the keeper,” said Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer. “You saw his first goal kick he was taking his time. Every time was almost one minute so if he gets a card after 30 minutes then he knows not to do it because it could be dangerous now. But now he gives it after 71 minute or something like that? They need to set precedent for this game and other games.”

In the 84′, FC Dallas would add insult to massive injury catching Atlanta United’s defense lacking in their defensive third. A long ball was sent well into their third with Michael Barrios sprinting down the right wing onside. Now a 2 v 1 with Brad Guzan, Barrios sent a perfect cross to Bryan Acosta who fired a one-time effort past the keeper.

Atlanta United dominated possession (78%), total shots (22), number of passes (596), and pass accuracy (86.2%), so a lot of credit should be given to FC Dallas. Their patience away from the ball lead to two important counterattacks.

“They came in with a gameplan,” said Atlanta United’s Jeff Larentowicz. “To score early was probably ideal for them. They were pretty comfortable to sit behind the ball.”

Josef Martinez was given an airborne through-ball inside the 18 but couldn’t finish. With just the keeper to beat, his attempt went just wide of goal.

In a wild ending to a forgettable match, Atlanta was awarded a late penalty kick in stoppage time. Two yellow cards were given after a harsh foul on Brek Shea took place inside Dallas’ 18. Josef Martinez converted the try to give Atlanta a consolation goal.

Atlanta United will be back at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday, April 27, to host Colorado Rapids.


-Jon J.

Photo: Courtesy of ATLUTD

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