Atlanta United made the long trip to the West Coast to face L.A. Galaxy in a late kickoff on Sunday. The home side got on the board early in the first meeting in three years between the two sides, and Atlanta United fell 2-0 at Dignity Health Sports Park.
First half – Atlanta United concedes early, L.A. Galaxy dominates possession
Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda went with the same starting XI he did last weekend against Orlando City SC. On the other side, Chicharito started the match for L.A. It was the first time that Atlanta United has gone up against the soccer star from Mexico.
L.A. Galaxy had never scored on Atlanta United in the series history entering Sunday. However, it took just seven minutes into today’s match for the home side to end that drought. A fast developing play led to a cross inside the box to Chicharito. Atlanta United goalkeeper Rocco Ríos Novo blocked the shot, but L.A. forward Kévin Cabral was there to collect the rebound near the goal line, and L.A. scored to go ahead 1-0 in the 7th minute.
Atlanta United had a brilliant moment in the 17th minute. On a short corner kick, midfielder Amar Sejdić sent the ball to the far side of the box. The corner found Marcelino Moreno wide open on the far side of the box. Moreno’s header was on point and went to the opposite post where Ronaldo Cisneros was posting up. The striker had a good angle at goal but couldn’t quite connect.
While Atlanta United ranks as one of the best teams in the league in passing and possession, in the first half L.A. Galaxy had the advantage. L.A. controlled 60 percent of the possession in the first 45 minutes and finished the first half with 88.3 percent passing accuracy (83.1 percent for Atlanta).
Second half – Gonzalo Pineda sends on attacking reinforcements, Josef Martínez subs on, Dejan Joveljic ices the match for L.A.
At halftime, Thiago Almada and Josef Martínez entered the match for Sejdić and Aiden McFadden.
The substitutions picked up the pace of Atlanta’s attack and helped the team maintain possession. Atlanta nearly took advantage of a shaky moment in the 48th minute. A run from Cisneros drew L.A. goalkeeper Jonathan Bond off his line. Cisneros controlled the ball and passed it to Luiz Araújo at the top of the box. Araújo tried to chip the ball over Bond, who was out of position, but the shot missed high.
Down a goal, Pineda sent on more attacking options throughout the second half. In the 59th minute, Dom Dwyer replaced Cisneros. Later, Santiago Sosa subbed on for Moreno in the 70th minute. Machop Chol came on for Juanjo Purata in the 79th minute.
To keep Atlanta United's deficit at one, Ríos Novo came up with a big save in the 82nd minute. Samuel Grandsir flew down the field 1v1 with Alan Franco chasing. The winger put a low shot on goal, and Atlanta United’s goalkeeper made a diving stop for his fourth save on the day.
In the final 10 minutes of play, Atlanta United pushed for the equalizer and had several exciting chances to put a shot on frame. However, L.A. Galaxy’s defense held strong and prevented Atlanta United from equalizing. Then, in the final minute of stoppage time, Dejan Joveljic scored his eighth goal in as many games for L.A. Galaxy to ice the match and end the Galaxy’s losing streak.
Up next – Atlanta United has its second straight road match then returns home to host Seattle Sounders
Atlanta United is on the road for the second straight match to face Chicago Fire. Then, the club returns home on August 6 to face Gonzalo Pineda’s former team, the Seattle Sounders. It's a full-venue match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, so secure your seat today and don't miss a moment of the action!