Atlanta United falls to Inter Miami CF 2-1


Atlanta United traveled south to Florida for the first of three meetings on the year with Inter Miami CF. Phil Neville's side won the first Saturday night, defeating Atlanta United 2-1 at DRV PNK Stadium in MLS play. Andrew Gutman scored his first goal of the season for the 5-Stripes, but in the inevitable reunion with Josef Martínez, Atlanta United's former striker came on as a substitute to score a brace and secure three points for his new squad.

Trailing 2-0, Atlanta United got an advantage when Miami went down to 10 men in the 84th minute. Miami defender Franco Negri made a reckless challenge on Santiago Sosa and was sent off. The 5-Stripes used the advantage and pulled one goal back in the 92nd minute when Gutman scored a header off a Brooks Lennon corner kick to cut Atlanta's deficit in half in the final minutes of the match.

It was Gutman's first goal of the season for Atlanta United and Lennon's fourth assist.

"It’s a long season," Gutman said. "There are dips in every season, highs and lows, you just have to ride it out. You have to stay mentally strong and stay together as a team. We will get it right and start winning games again.”

Martínez converted a PK for the breakthrough in the 59th minute. Following a Miami corner, Atlanta's Machop Chol was called for a foul inside the box and the home team was awarded a penalty kick. Martínez, who had entered the match seconds earlier as a second-half sub, stepped up to the spot and finished.

Miami would score their second goal of the night in the 75th minute. DeAndre Yedlin sent a through ball for Martínez who was making a diagonal run near post. The striker slid and connected his right foot to squeeze it past Atlanta's starting goalkeeper Quentin Westberg. The finish marked Martínez's 100th career MLS goal.

Down a goal with about seven minutes of stoppage time remaining, Atlanta United searched urgently for the equalizer. The fresh legs of Luiz Araújo, who entered the match late as a second-half sub, clipped several dangerous balls in behind. However, Atlanta United couldn't find the back of the net to save a result on the road. The loss is Atlanta's second straight in MLS play.

"They get some momentum getting to halftime and they did a good job of having a solid middle block," Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda said. "But I felt that we were creative in our final attack, but the final pass, final movement is not there. We need to continue to work on that."

Pineda made a few changes to Atlanta's starting XI from what he sent out last weekend in Nashville. Westberg got the start in goal, his third for Atlanta United. With Giorgos Giakoumakis still out with a hamstring injury, Chol earned his second straight MLS start. Amar Sejdić also appeared in the starting lineup, joining Sosa in the midfield.

The first shot of the night came 23 minutes into the match. A combination play between Chol and Caleb Wiley sent Derrick Etienne Jr. into the box. Miami halted Atlanta's attack, but Wiley quickly regained possession and found Etienne onside. That teed up the winger for a left-footed shot on goal, but Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender came up with the save.

That play signaled some momentum toward Atlanta in the first half. A few minutes later, Thiago Almada threaded a through ball to Lennon on the right side. Lennon sent a low cross into the box, but Miami was able to clear it away for an Atlanta corner kick. Lennon took the kick, and Miami's clearance on dangerous loose ball inside the box landed right back to Lennon at the corner flag. Chol got on the end of Lennon’s cross back in, nearly opening the scoring, but his header bounced wide.

Miami found some success late in the first half and took seven shots in the final 15 minutes before halftime. In the 36th minute, the home team nearly took advantage of a giveaway after Sosa tried to back heel a pass in the middle third. Miami Homegrown Benjamin Cremaschi’s fast break left an opportunity for Leonardo Campana. The striker tried to lift a shot over Westberg, who had come off his line in Atlanta’s buildup, but it wasn’t too high for Westberg to collect out of the air. Later on a corner kick to end the half, Cremaschi was open near post. His header went just over Westberg’s goal.

Overall, it was one of those days when Atlanta United created a lot of chances but only found the goal once. The visitors took 17 shots, five on goal, and had six shots blocked.

"We created opportunities to get into the prime assist zones and into the final third," Pineda said. "It’s a little bit of sharpness in the final third I would say that was missing tonight."

Match Stats
Inter Miami CF 
Atlanta United 
Shots on target
Corner kicks
Fouls committed
Passing accuracy

Up next - Atlanta United hosts Charlotte FC for Rivalry Week

After two consecutive matches on the road, Atlanta United returns to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for a meeting with Charlotte FC for Rivalry Week on Saturday, May 13. After the match, Atlanta United's Special Olympics Unified Team plays their first match of the season against Charlotte. Anyone with a ticket to the first team match will be able to stay for the Unified match. For more information and how to watch our Unified team, click here.

Match Highlights: Inter Miami CF vs. Atlanta United | May 6, 2023