Atlanta United played to a 0-0 draw against New York Red Bulls Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The lack of an attacking threat remains evident as the five stripes struggled to find the back of the net. Brad Guzan earned his third clean sheet of the season and the team recorded their sixth draw.
Atlanta United manager Gabriel Heinze opted for Erick “Cubo” Torres as his striker once again, and, once again, he failed to deliver. As with most matches he’s featured in since his arrival, he’s had plenty of chances, but isn’t exactly a threat in the box.
Things took a turn early in the match, after Franco Ibarra went down with a hamstring injury. Just a few minutes after Alan Franco came on to replace him, an errant back pass almost gifted the Red Bulls their first goal. To their chagrin, Brad Guzan was quick with his reaction and stopped a low effort from bouncing across the goal line. Guzan made another crucial save in the 68′ minute when Kyle Duncan fired a left-footed effort from 12 yards out, but the veteran goalkeeper was able to block it just in time.
Atlanta’s best chance came in the 89′ minute when a Miles Robinson header deflected off the post. Brooks Lennon delivered a cross to the center of the box where the center back rose above the defense. But after missing the net by inches, the ball was deflected away.
After the match Heinze was bombarded with a flurry of questions, including what was known about Ibarra’s injury, the transfer window, and why fans haven’t seen the likes of Jackson Conway.
[On Ibarra]: “Franco Ibarra had pain in his hamstring. The first 15 minutes after the substitution we had some trouble positioning ourselves. I didn’t like that moment in the game.“
[On the upcoming transfer window]: “Yes we have been analyzing and talking about what the team needs. Afterwards you know better than me. There are different rules here. We know that the club is giving maximal effort. Let’s see what we can get. But also the club has done a great effort to help the team grow. They did it also in the past. Especially with young players who have a good present but also a great future ahead of them.”
[On why he hasn’t used Jackson Conway]: “First, I can respect all the supporters and followers of the team. I saw Erick Torres playing very well. It’s why I decided to play him instead of Jackson Conway.”
*Note: He wasn’t asked about the transfer rumor regarding George Bello, but as of now, sources say it’s just that (a rumor).
The attacking struggles were summed up by Atlanta United’s Santiago Sosa. “Obviously it’s not nice to not score goals but the team is trying,” he said after the match. “This is soccer. Lately it’s been difficult for us to score goals, but personally, I think that we’re going to change that. And when the ball starts to go in, then things will be different because in terms of the game, we’re doing well. Sometimes the ball doesn’t go in.”
One bit of good news for fans is after tonight’s elimination in Copa América, Venezuelan striker Josef Martinez will be returning to Atlanta. If fit, surely Heinze will want him involved in their next match when the team travels to Chicago to take on the Fire at Soldier Field. Atlanta are currently (2-2-6, 12 points) and will face the Fire on Saturday, July 3 at 8:00 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor).
Photos: Courtesy of ATL UTD