It wasn’t easy getting the MLS is Back Tournament off and running, but now that is has, fans can start their efforts to adjust to the new normal. For Atlanta fans, their tournament kicked off tonight against eastern conference foe New York Red Bulls at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, FL.
A lot of big names were let go in the offseason and fans are still getting adjusted to the roster sheet. With a number of offseason acquisitions plus recent signings, de Boer’s starting XI looked much different than times past. Ezequiel Barco and Eric Remedi were on the bench and Pity Martinez was moved up to striker as Josef Martinez is still recovering from an ACL injury. It was refreshing to see George Bello return to the lineup as he missed most of the 2019 season due to injury.
In the 4′, New York’s Kaku sent a beautiful long-range ball to Florian Valot who found himself 1 v 1 with keeper Brad Guzan. After dribbling about 10 yards, Valot calmly slotted it home past Guzan in the lower left corner to score the second fastest goal of the tournament.
In the 40′, Bello found some space on the left flank and fired a left-footed effort that would’ve drew the match level. His attempt fired off the crossbar and the Red Bulls could exhale as they went into the half with the lead.
Just two minutes into the second half, Atlanta United was pressing high. Mo Adams found Manuel Castro pacing towards the keeper. Running seemingly towards an open net, Castro misfired the shot out of play. Eight minutes later, Castro would find himself in the same position with an incoming pass from Brooks Lennon and again misfire his effort.
Wuyl was itching to grab his second goal in the 62′ but made it as far as the keeper’s box and misfired his shot outside of goal.
In the dying embers of the match, Adam Jahn leaped in the box for a massive header that looked like a clear winner, but Jensen made the save of the match to flick the ball over the net.
The loss sits Atlanta at the bottom of Group E. The match between FC Cincinnati and Columbus Crew is yet to be played but will determine how the group will look heading into next week.
Atlanta United will face FC Cincinnati on Thursday morning, July 16, at 9:00 AM ET.
Photos: Courtesy of ATL UTD