Atlanta United earns first clean sheet of the season against Charlotte FC


Ask any Atlanta United defender what could be better after the team's first couple of matches of the season, most would answer the same.

A clean sheet.

And the backline earned just that in their third match of the season. In Saturday's big win, Atlanta United not only scored three goals but also shut out Charlotte FC 3-0 to get their first clean sheet of the season.

"Today was one of the most complete games," head coach Gonzalo Pineda said after Saturday's match. "Was it perfect? No, we weren’t disrupting their pressure or dominating possession. But, I’m happy with blocking shots and crosses and being good in transition."

The 5-Stripes nearly got there in the first two matches of the season. The team conceded a goal in each of their first two games against San Jose Earthquakes and Toronto FC. In both matches, Atlanta United shut out the opponent for one half, so heading into Week 3 it was a matter of sustaining that defensive presence for a full 90 minutes.

And Atlanta United was certainly tested in their most recent match. Down 3-0 in the second half, Charlotte FC pressed to cut into their deficit. The home side possessed 56 percent of the match, took 12 shots and put three of those on goal.

But Atlanta United's defense clamped down when it needed to. Goalkeeper Brad Guzan led the way, making three saves, and together the team made 30 clearances to keep their first clean sheet of the year.

“We love clean sheets,” Pineda said. “Good defenders in some ways win titles, win trophies. And good defense is always the sign of a good team. So, as much as we’re playing attack-minded football, and we want to attack, attack, attack, the little moments where we defend we need to be efficient.”

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