Atlanta United midfielder Mo Adams #29 passes the ball during the first half of the match against Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois on Saturday July 3, 2021. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Atlanta United allowed three goals away from home as the Chicago Fire humbled the five stripes on their home turf. Chicago Fire’s Ignacio Aliseda scored two quality goals for his brace while the question of depth has become a factor for Atlanta.

It was a long night for the five stripes. Key injuries meant they would start without Franco Ibarra, Santiago Sosa, Jürgen Damm, Emerson Hyndman, and Alan Franco. Many thought we’d finally get a glimpse of Matheus Rossetto, but he too had a minor injury that kept him from making the trip. To make matters worse, striker Josef Martinez returned from Copa América action but wasn’t fit to make the XI. Ronald Hernández would make his MLS debut and Tyler Wolff and Mikey Ambrose each made their first appearances of the season.

In the 34′ minute, Chicago’s Alvaro Medran sliced through Atlanta’s defensive third and laid the ball off to Ignacio Aliseda at the top of the 18. Once he dribbled into the box and took his chance on goal, Mo Adams slid to block the attempt, but the deflection bounced over goalkeeper Brad Guzan and in the net.

Just before the whistle, Chicago recovered a loose ball and launched a counterattack. The ball was deflected towards Alazeda and the youngster beat Guzan to his left to earn his brace.

In the 58’ minute, Przemyslaw Frankowski was played through outside the box. Once inside, he positioned himself just outside of a sliding Anton Walkes and beat Guzan for the third goal of the match.

Atlanta’s best chance came in the 84’ minute when Marcelino Moreno sent a beautiful ball to the far post to Machop Chol. Chol connected with the header but it went straight to the goalkeeper.

In the final minutes of stoppage time, Machop Chol found Marcelino Moreno waiting, unmarked, at the penalty spot. What should’ve been Atlanta’s first goal ended up in the stands as Moreno skied the five stripes’ final attempt.

“This week in training, coach talked a lot about getting in behind the defense. I think I just kept that in mind and wanted to get in behind,” said Chol after the match in regards to his performance. “My goal was to get behind their defense. Unfortunately, that header didn’t hit the back of the net. But I think we created some decent chances towards the end.”

With all those aforementioned names missing in action, next Thursday will be Atlanta’s biggest test yet. Brad Guzan, Miles Robinson, George Bello, and Ezequiel Barco will be leaving for their respective national teams. Barco will be joining Argentina for the Olympics while Guzan, Robinson, and Bello will join the USMNT in hopes of winning the Gold Cup.

Atlanta (2-3-6, 12 points) returns to action Thursday to take on Nashville SC at Nissan Stadium (8:30 p.m., Bally Sports Southeast, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor).

-Jon J.

Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD

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