Atlanta United hosted Supporters' Shield favorites FC Cincinnati Wednesday night for the first of two matchups this season between the two sides. Although an early goal from winger Edwin Mosquera put the 5-Stripes up at the half, two second-half goals from Cincinnati earned the visitors a 2-1 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
"It was a tale of two halves today," goalkeeper Brad Guzan said. "There were good things that we did, some things that we need to look at and be better at. We've got to make sure we don't get too high when things were going great, winning back-to-back games. At the same time, not get too low after tonight's performance."
A great sequence of possession from Atlanta led to its first goal of the night in the 10th minute. Edwin Mosquera and Brooks Lennon connected down the right flank before Lennon sent a cross over to the far post. Midfielder Xande Silva controlled the ball, spun past his defender and attempted to pass back in front of goal; however, the ball took a deflection toward Mosquera, who volleyed it the top netting for his first career goal.
Atlanta came out hot to start the match, with midfielder Thiago Almada nearly knocking in his seventh goal from outside the box in the 8th minute. After Tristan Muyumba earned a free kick about 30 yards out, of course Atlanta’s Starboy stepped up to take the kick. His shot was curling toward the top left corner, but the ball bounced off the post.
Cincinnati had a couple opportunities to tie it up in the first half. Bret Halsey and Sergio Santos had a give-and-go inside the box, but Halsey’s shot missed high and wide. Minutes later, an Atlanta clearance took a deflection off a Cincinnati attacker and rolled just outside the post. Two shots from Luciano Acosta missed wide back-to-back.
However, Acosta wouldn't be shutout for long, as he evened the scoreline in the 75th minute. The midfielder drew three Atlanta defenders to the top of the box before laying the ball off to Junior Moreno. He played the ball back to Acosta, who sent a bullet of a shot past goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
The Orange and Blue doubled their lead minutes later off a goal from Brandon Vazquez. Cincinnati won possession of the ball at midfield and played Álvaro Barreal out wide. The defender sent in a low cross right in front of goal, where Vazquez tapped it in for the lead.
"In the second half, we lost control of the game," assistant coach Diego de la Torre said. "We were playing the first team in the league. They were chasing, they were competing. I have to give credit to Cincinnati; they were a very good team. We were dribbling, dribbling, dribbling, trying to do things we never do. That was the real problem."
Atlanta looked like it had found its second goal of the night earlier in the second half. A corner kick landed at the feet of Silva, who blasted a shot into the back of the net from the top of the box. The goal was quickly overturned due to a foul occurring inside the box prior to the shot.
Although head coach Gonzalo Pineda was out for the match due to yellow card accumulation, the 5-Stripes are finally seeing the consistency he has been wanting all year. For the first time this season, Atlanta went with the same starting lineup for three matches in a row.
Shots on target
Up next – Atlanta travels to Texas to take on FC Dallas
Atlanta United will round out its double matchweek by heading to Toyota Stadium to face FC Dallas on Saturday, September 2. It will be the first time the two sides will face each other after nearly three years.