Atlanta United earns a road point in 1-1 draw against St. Louis CITY SC


Atlanta United ends their double matchweek on the road earning four out a possible six points. After a 1-0 victory over D.C. United, they come from behind to get a 1-1 draw against St. Louis CITY SC. This was the first time these two clubs have played each other.

Much like St. Louis, Atlanta United was shorthanded for this match. Luis Abram, Saba Lobjanidze and Bartosz Slisz are currently away from the club on international duty with their home countries. Thiago Almada was not available due to yellow card accumulation. It took some heroics from Daniel Ríos, as well as players stepping up, for Atlanta United to walk away with the draw.

"I talk to them a lot about blocking out the noise on the road," said interim head coach Rob Valentino during the post match press conference. "The only noise that matters is inside our own heads and inside our four walls. That relentlessness will save them a lot in the long run. I am proud of that they fought back. I would like to be on the other side of it, but that is important."

The opening minutes of the match were slightly choppy as both teams gained their footing. Brad Guzan, who was named to MLS Team of the Matchday after his clean sheet against D.C. United, made a key save in the ninth minute of the first half on a shot from Nökkvi Thórisson.

Off a set corner piece, St. Louis’s João Klauss had the first good scoring opportunity between the two teams, but his shot from the center of the box rang off the crossbar. Atlanta United quickly got chances of their own after that. In the 11th minute of the match, Ríos's attempt was saved by Roman Bürki. The St. Louis goalkeeper was named MLS Goalkeeper of the year in 2023 – CITY SC’s inaugural year in MLS.

Derrick Williams blocked Thórisson’s shot from the left side of the box in the 18th minute. Since coming back from injury that kept him out for weeks, Williams has been a huge staple of Atlanta’s backline. The 5-Stripes began to pick up their offensive pressure at time ticked on in the first half. Homegrown Jay Fortune and Xande Silva both had good looks that Bürki stopped in the 28th and 29th minutes of the match.

After a couple of chances for both teams, the match took a turn in the 39th minute, when it looks as if St. Louis had scored the first goal of the match. That was until the refs on the field waved the goal off as Klauss was impeaching on Guzan’s ability to make the save. Quickly thereafter, the video assistant referee (VAR) for the league stepped in to the check the play themselves. After a few minutes of deliberation, it was eventually announced that there was no offside infraction, but the goal would still not stand because an uncalled foul earlier in the rush before the goal was scored. Before making his way up the field with the ball, Eduard Lowen collided with Tristan Muyumba.

Because of the time it took for VAR to do their own assessment, as well as the cooling break, nine minutes of stoppage time was added. Jamal Thiare has a chance for the 5-Stripes in the closing minutes of the first half.

Atlanta United ended the first half with 56 percent of possession, and six shots - three of them on goal.


Atlanta United made a halftime substitution, putting in Stian Gregersen for Efrain Morales. Gregersen missed time due to injury and is coming off the bench for the first time in a couple of matches.

It does not take long for St. Louis to regain the lead they thought they had in the first half. After a turnover by Gregersen, Indiana Vassilev put CITY SC up 1-0 in the 50th minute of the second half. His shot came from the right side of the box and was assisted by Klauss and Jayden Reid.

Trying to push for the tying goal, Fortune hits the right post from the right half-space outside the box in the 59th minute, and Thiaré attempted a header in the 60th minutes. Dax McCarty then came in for Thiaré in the 61st minute.

"The messages from Brad (Guzan) as we walked out of the locker room was 'if we can't win, don't lose'," said Jay Fortune after the match. "On the road was difficult for us in the past. To win our last two on the road, and then walk away with this draw shows the character of the team."

In the 67th minute, Atlanta had its best chance of the match. Williams played a ball into the feet of Silva who turned past his defender into the space at the top of the box. He then played in Ríos on the right, but the Mexican striker's shot was tipped over the bar by Bürki. Atlanta was awarded a penalty kick when Gregersen was fouled by Thorisson following a corner kick. Ríos stepped up and shot low towards the right corner. Bürki made the initial save, but Ríos showed patience and buried his own rebound in the 71st minute of the match.

Almost ten minutes after scoring the equalizer, Rios nearly got the go-ahead goal. After Fortune stripes the ball, he plays it up to Brooks Lennon who made a near perfect pass to Rios. The ball was tipped away by before Rios could tuck it home. Off the corner kick after Rios's chance, McCarty had an opportunity of his own in the 83rd minute. His shot from inside the box went just left of the net.

Atlanta subbed in homegrown Luke Brennan for Jamal Thiare in the 87th minutes. Guzan made a great save on Caden Glover in the 88th minute to keep the match even at 1-1.

Managing to control the game while the other team makes offensive chances has been something Atlanta United has struggled with this season. They were able to weather the opportunities that St. Louis tried in the added nine minutes of stoppage time, while also creating some looks themselves. In the end, the match would end in a draw. Atlanta now has 21 points and sit at ninth place in MLS Eastern Conference table.

"We are always reflecting on ways we can get better as a team," said Valentino after being asked how the team will move forward starting with the next match next Saturday. "A big part of it is how I always go back to how we are getting better as people or we catering to the individual. How are we checking in on the guys. We will reflect on substitutions and team selection, but the biggest thing is how intentional we are with the training hours we do have."

Match Stats
St. Louis CITY SC
Atlanta United
Shots on target
Corner kicks
Fouls committed
Passing accuracy

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Atlanta United will be back at Mercercdes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, June 29 to take on Toronto FC. The 5-Stripes faced their Northern foes once already this season back on March 23rd. Fans not going to the match can catch all the action, including the 7:30 p.m. kickoff, on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

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