Atlanta United falls to Minnesota United FC 2-1

match (5-4)

Coming off a scoreless road draw against Chicago Fire FC, Atlanta United looked to get in the win column at home. But going against a strong Western Conference opponent in Minnesota United FC proved to be a challenge for the 5-Stripes. They fell to the Loons by a score of 2-1; it was the late goal by Saba Lobjanidze that foiled Minnesota's shutout bid.

"I think some mistakes defensively," said head coach Gonzalo Pineda at the post match media availability after being asked what went wrong for the 5-Stripes. "But I think the effort was there; we had some good plays. I thought we played well in the first half. It was a difficult game... it was the laspes in the second half."

The game began with both Atlanta and Minnesota crowding the middle third, as the clubs played a cautious playing style. The defensive work of the wingers, like Edwin Mosquera, shining through during this time. In the eighth minute of the match, Minnesota saw their first decent look of the first half but Atlanta goalkeeper, Brad Guzan, stood tall. He then went on stop MNUFC’s first corner kick of the match. In the 20th minute, Luis Abram was given a yellow card, but the 5-Stripes were able to stop the free kick Minnesota was awarded. Much of the first half was a war of attrition as both teams saw well-defended chances in the attacking half of the pitch. In the 25th minute, Atlanta got a free kick of their own.

One of Atlanta’s better looks was a counterattack coming off a corner kick by the Loons. But MNUFC goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair came out to cut the angle to prevent Lobjanidze from scoring. Only a few minutes later, Abram and Guzan collided with each other on the other half of the field, but Guzan, from his knees, had the acute awareness to stop the scoring chance that came from Minnesota.

After missing some time due to a knee injury, attacker Giorgos Giakoumakis was rounding back into game form. His scoring opportunity came in the 38th minute as he attempted a header right in the center of the box, but a last minute save from St. Clair kept the match knotted up at zero.

The first half of the match ended Minnesota having more shots but Atlanta leading the in possession percentage.

"I think, if you look, we played most of that (opening) 10 to 15 minutes controling the game," said Brooks Lennon to media after the match. "In every football match, you're going to feel each other out in the beginning. It takes adapting and maturing and leadership to understand what we need to do to break them down and create chances."


In the beginning the second half, Minnesota subbed out Robin Lod for Carlos Harvey. After a heavy tackle in the 49th minute, Mosquera had to come out of the match temporarily, but he was able to come back. The match eventually opened up when in the 54th minute, Minnesota scored off a header from Kevin Arriaga. It was assisted by Joseph Rosales. Minnesota quickly got their second goal of the match in the 50th minute after a giveaway in the final third; a shot from Tantioluwa Oluwaseyi ended up in the back of the net.

In the 65th minute, Atlanta subbed out Tristian Muyumba and Mosquera for Daniel Rios and Tyler Wolff respectively. Trying to even the score, Atlanta began to press more, trying to keep the ball in the their attacking half of the pitch. Abram and Lobjanidze both had attempts. Giakoumakis saw his attempt in the 76th minute go just left of the net.

Atlanta made another sub as Stian Gregersen, who missed time due to having miniscus surgery, came in for homegrown Noah Cobb. Lobjanidze, who had been all over the pitch with solid chances, got the 5-Stripes on the board in the 82 minute. Rios showed incredible composure as he made the cross pitch pass to Lobjanidze.

"When you score a goal, you have confidence," said Lobjanidze after the match. "Of course, that is good for me and good for team, but I am still dissapointed because we did not get any points."

With the 17s cheering them on, and MNUFC scrambling for the first time in the match, Atlanta continued to made offensive moves to try and tie the match. Giakouamkis almost had the equalizer in the 90th minute with a header that went of the crossbar.

Despite the last minute herorics, including a last minute kick awarded to the Atlanta after Minnesota got a yellow card, the 5-Stripes start May with a loss.

"Somtimes in sports, the best thing after a loss is to get right back on the field," said Lennon when asked about the coming match for the U.S. Open Cup. "It is actually good and in our favor that we get another opportunity to put this jersey on Tuesday, and represent the club at a better standard."

Match Stats
Atlanta United
Minnesota United FC
Shots on target
Corner kicks
Fouls committed
Passing accuracy 

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