Atlanta United beat the Colorado Rapids 1-0 Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in front of 43,005 fans. Julian Gressel scored the game-winning goal in the second half for his first of the season in league play and the 10th of his MLS career. Brad Guzan made three saves and posted his second clean sheet of the season.
“It’s difficult against this kind of system because there are so many bodies in defense,” Atlanta United head coach Frank de Boer said. “I’m very proud with the energy and discipline and the effort. After the goal, we dropped a bit because we expended a lot of energy, but I’m very happy with the victory and proud of the team.”
After a scoreless first half, Atlanta applied more pressure in the second half and broke through in the 74th minute. Darlington Nagbe intercepted a pass on the left side as Colorado attempted to play out of the back. Nagbe dribbled into the 18-yard box, split a pair of defenders and raced toward the end line where he sent in a cross to Gressel. Running from the opposite side of the field, Gressel beat two defenders to the near post where he poked his right foot at the ball, which glanced off the left post and bounced into the net.
Atlanta nearly doubled its lead in the 94th minute on a counter attack. Running down the right side, Gressel switched the field to Tito Villalba in space. The Argentine took a curling shot with his right foot, but it rattled off the right post and was cleared.
Atlanta United (2-3-2, 8 points) returns to action Sunday, May 5 against Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park (9:00 p.m. EST, FS1, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game).
Shots: 15-6 Atlanta
Shots on Target: 3-3
Corner kicks: 6-2 Atlanta
Fouls committed: 16-9 Colorado
Clearances: 30-13 Colorado
Possession: 66-34 Atlanta
Passing Accuracy: 83-73 Atlanta