Atlanta United defeated Club America 1-0 Wednesday night in the second leg of its 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal. After just signing as a Homegrown two weeks ago, Jackson Conway scored on his debut with an assist from fellow Homegrown George Bello. Along with Conway, Erik Lopez and Jack Gurr each made their First Team debut, and although Atlanta dominated play throughout the game, it’s 2020 season ends as it fell 3-1 on aggregate.
Atlanta controlled play for much of the first half, owning 67% of possession and putting three shots on target. Perhaps the best chance of the half came in the 24′ minute when Ezequiel Barco’s effort was saved by Guillermo Ochoa. From the right wing, Franco Escobar swung a ball near the box for Lopez, who flicked a ball into the box for a streaking Barco. The Argentine midfielder one-touched a right-footed shot toward Ochoa’s right to force a diving save, keeping the game level.
Atlanta continued to pile on pressure throughout the second half and again generated the best chance of the half, this time from substitute Cubo Torres in the 68′ minute. Fellow second half sub Marcelino Moreno burst down the left flank and played Bello deep into America’s penalty area where the left back crossed for Torres. His first shot was saved by Ochoa, but the rebound spilled back into play where Torres again had an attempt from short range that was again saved. On the ensuing scramble, a loose ball came out for Jake Mulraney who rifled a shot seemingly destined for the top corner that was headed away by an America defender.
Atlanta finally got on the board 15 minutes later from Conway in the 82′ minute. Again it was Moreno creating in the midfield by combining with Emerson Hyndman, who then played Bello free along the left wing. Bello then crossed toward the back post where Conway calmly headed it into the top corner.
The mindset of pushing the match to penalty kicks was now intensified thanks to Conway’s morale boost, but, that momentum would soon be cut short. As Moreno was falling after a tackle, he kicked a Club America player in the stomach. The referee caught wind of the situation and issued a straight red to the star signing.
Even with the win, Atlanta’s 2020 season is now officially over. The dominating effort saw Atlanta force Ochoa into making six saves and forcing America into 20 clearances compared to Atlanta’s three. Club America will advance to the semifinals to play the LAFC.
Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD