In its second consecutive matchup against a Western Conference opponent, Atlanta United beat Real Salt Lake 2-1 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Wednesday night in the first meeting between the two clubs in three years.
First Half – Ronaldo Cisneros scores a brace, Juanjo Purata starts on the backline
In the starting XI for Atlanta United, defender Juanjo Purata made his first career start. And the defender on loan from Tigres got involved in the action early, nearly putting a header on goal in a corner kick situation for Atlanta United in the sixth minute.
Atlanta United opened the scoring in the seventh minute. Midfielder Thiago Almada sent a through ball to Ronaldo Cisneros, who started the match up top for the 5-Stripes. The striker cut the ball back to beat his defender 1v1 and rolled a shot into the far corner to put Atlanta ahead 1-0.
It Almada’s fifth assist on the season.
The striker found the net again in the 33rd minute. Midfielder Matheus Rossetto tapped a pass to Cisneros, and the striker took it from there. He cut through the Real Salt Lake defense and hit a shot with his left foot to score his brace and give the home side a two-goal lead.
The goal was Cisneros's sixth of the season. Rossetto was credited with his assist, the first of his career for Atlanta United.
But Atlanta United conceded a goal in the 37th minute. Forward Justin Meram lifted a cross into the box from the right side and defender Johan Kappelhof headed it past Atlanta goalkeeper Ronaldo Cisneros to cut Real Salt Lake’s deficit to one.
Second Half – Atlanta United holds the lead, Josef Martínez subbed on
Atlanta United nearly found a third goal in the 64th minute. A ball rebounded to Almada right near the top of the box. The midfielder collected the ball with some space and ripped a shot, but it bounced off the post.
In the 71st minute, midfielder Franco Ibarra replaced Almada for Atlanta. Five minutes later, Machop Chol and Josef Martínez entered the match for Aiden McFadden and Cisneros. In the 82nd minute, Santiago Sosa replaced Amar Sejdić.
Ríos Novo came up with a couple big saves at the end of the match, in the 87th minute and right before the final whistle, to preserve the three points for Atlanta United.
With the win, Atlanta United moves to 6-8-5 on the season and 10th place in the Eastern Conference table. Real Salt Lake remains winless at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Up next – Atlanta United hosts Orlando City SC for Heineken Rivalry Week
Atlanta United finishes up the current homestand with a matchup against Orlando City SC for Heineken Rivalry Week on Sunday, July 17.
Join us on Saturday, July 16 for a block party at the Interlock in West Midtown and get hyped for Heineken Rivalry Week! RSVP here.