Match Recap

Atlanta United Goes Cold In Colorado, Falls 3-0 To The Rapids 

MatchRecp-COL-3.5.22

It was a cold day in Colorado, and a cold day for Atlanta United as the team was shut out for its first loss of the season 3-0 at Dick’s Sporting Good Park in Commerce City, Colo.

Colorado Rapids forward Diego Rubio, leaning away from defender Alan Franco, scored the first goal of the match off a cross from forward Michael Barrios in the 33rd minute. It was the first goal of the season for Colorado Rapids.

Atlanta United held its own for most of the first half and went into halftime trailing only 1-0. However, in the 48th minute Rubio found midfielder Jonathan Lewis on a through ball, and Lewis scored on right-footed shot from the center of the box to make it 2-0 Colorado.

“The first five minutes of the second half are important, we conceded the second goal, which obviously gives them momentum.” midfielder Amar Sejdić said. “It was just a little bit of a scrappy game.”

Colorado’s third goal came in the 87th minute as forward Andre Shinyashiki slipped the ball past goalkeeper Brad Guzan. Shinyashiki entered the match in the 74th minute as a sub for the other goal scorer Lewis.

It was the first match of the season for Atlanta United without Luiz Araújo, the talented left-footed forward who scored the first goal of 2022 for the club. Veteran midfielder Osvaldo Alonso was also held out of the match due to precautionary reasons, the club announced earlier on Saturday.

Homegrown defender George Campbell started in place of Alonso. Campbell, who started last week’s match against Sporting Kansas City as a center back alongside Miles Robinson, played the holding defensive midfielder position a few times last season.

“So part of the idea of putting George Campbell there is not changing a lot of the dynamic and what we just trained the whole week,” head coach Gonzalo Pineda said. “So, it was just a man-for-man change and I don’t think the game plan changed dramatically with George Campbell for us.”

The performance was a great response for Colorado, a team that finished 2021 in first place in the Western Conference but lost 3-0 in the MLS home opener last week and suffered a heartbreaking loss that ended their appearance in the Concacaf Champions League earlier this year.

Even though the team gave up three goals, Atlanta United possessed most of the match (64 percent) and completed more passes (504) than Colorado.

“We just switched off for a couple of minutes and Colorado was at the top of the Western Conference last year,” Andrew Gutman said. “They’re a great team and they punished us.”

Franco made a return to the starting lineup for the first time in 2022. The defender was one of Pineda’s main center backs last season but missed the regular season opener due to a red card suspension he obtained in the 2021 season finale against New York City FC.

Atlanta United finished with more shots than Colorado (12-9), but unfortunately couldn’t find the back of the net. Atlanta’s best opportunity occurred at the end of first half when Gutman sent a tempting cross from the left side into the center of the box, but it got stuck under Martínez’s feet.

“I feel like Colorado kind of sat in as well and that negated us playing the ball in behind into the channels and then crossing into it,” Gutman said. “But we can still break teams down through the middle, and I think if we were better on the day, we would’ve had a couple goals.”

Pineda brought in a few subs in the second half. In the 64th minute, Caleb Wiley came on for Campbell and Marcelino Moreno subbed on for Lennon. Later in the 72nd, Dom Dwyer entered the match for Sejdić.

In the 86th minute, Robinson was sent off for receiving his second yellow card. It was the first red card of his career. He'll be suspended for Atlanta United's next match against Charlotte FC.

The conditions in Colorado on Saturday were much different than what the team was used to in Atlanta. The temperature in Commerce City, Colo. around the time of kickoff was approximately 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Atlanta United debuted the Forest Kit, the secondary kit that represents the club’s commitment to sustainability. Colorado wore their traditional home burgundy.

On paper, it looks like a disappointing result for the 5-Stripes, especially after the club scored three goals last week to win the first-ever home opener played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. But it’s the beginning of a long season, and the last-minute need to replace one if its veteran leaders created an unforeseeable challenge that required putting a makeshift starting XI onto the pitch.

“If you really break down the game, we did a lot of things well,” Gutman said. “Then we just have to learn from our little mistakes and move forward to Charlotte next weekend.”

Atlanta United Starters: Brad Guzan (C), Ronald Hernández, Miles Robinson, Alan Franco, Andrew Gutman, George Campbell (Caleb Wiley – 63’), Matheus Rossetto, Amar Sejdić (Dom Dwyer – 72’), Tyler Wolff (Aiden McFadden – 90’), Brooks Lennon (Marcelino Moreno – 63’), Josef Martínez

Atlanta United substitutes not used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Mikey Ambrose, Jackson Conway, Alex De John

Colorado Rapids Starters: William Yarbrough, Keegan Rosenberry, Lalas Abubakar, Danny Wilson (Steven Beitashour – HT), Auston Trusty, Lucas Esteves; Michael Barrios (Collen Warner – 63’), Jack Price (C), Mark-Anthony Kaye (Bryan Acosta – 63’), Jonathan Lewis (Andre Shinyashiki – 74’), Diego Rubio 

Colorado Rapids substitutes not used: Clint Irwin, Drew Moor, Max, Nicolas Mezquida, Sebastian Anderson.

Yellow cards: Ronald Hernández (21’), Auston Trusty (22’), Miles Robinson (31’), Jack Price (42’), Mark Anthony Kaye (51’), Andre Shinyashiki (80’), Dom Dwyer (89’)

Red cards: Miles Robinson (86')

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