Atlanta United fell 2-1 to Inter Miami CF at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Jon Gallagher scored his first MLS goal for the five stripes. Juan Agudelo and Brek Shea scored a goal apiece to seal the win for Miami.
Atlanta is in unfamiliar territory at the moment, having fallen into an uncharacteristic slump. With one win in 10 games and conceding13 of 17 goals in the first half this season, the club is in dire need to press the reset button. With the exit of Gonzalo ‘Pity’ Martinez, there’s a lingering Designated Player (DP) opening and there’s been no update on a permanent head coach.
The left-side combination of Jon Gallagher and George Bello was effective tonight. In attack, creating space, and the one-two connections were fluid. Gallagher has proven more effective than Brooks Lennon, so tonight, coach Stephen Glass brought him off the bench late in the second half to play the opposite side.
The first 11 minutes of play is where all the action took place. Juan Agudelo played Lewis Morgan free down the left flank. Morgan crossed into the box for Rodolfo Pizzaro. Miles Robinson was there to clear, but unfortunately for Atlanta, his clearance was deflected right toward Agudelo, who had an open shot from 10 yards that the veteran striker was able to finish.
Three minutes later, Atlanta came up with a response as George Bello setup Jon Gallagher with space inside the box. After a handful of touches, Gallagher sent a left-footed rocket into the top corner for the equalizer.
Miami was able to re-take the lead in the 11′ minute from Brek Shea. Off a throw-in, Pizarro found space near the end line and crossed over the top of Brad Guzan to find the 6-foot-3 winger, where the veteran was able to head in the go-ahead goal.
Despite controlling possession for the majority of the second half with 63 percent, Atlanta was unable to find an equalizer. Second-half substitute Cubo Torres had the best opportunity in the 69th minute, heading a cross from Brooks Lennon, but Robles’ diving save kept Miami ahead.
“Everyone is obviously disappointed. It’s something that we’re not used to,” said Jeff Larentowicz when asked about the team’s mood. “But we as a team have to rebound. You have to be humble when you’re winning and stand up when you’re losing and right now we’re in a tough stretch. We’ve lost a couple in a row, but the season is not going away. We have another game in a couple of days.
That game would be Wednesday, Sept. 23 against FC Dallas (7:00 p.m., FOX Sports Southeast, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor)