A tough result at home for Atlanta United as the MLS expansion club fell 3-1 to Eastern Conference opponents D.C. United. Once again ATL UTD opened the scoring for the seventh time in eight matches courtesy of Kenwyne Jones, but D.C. responded with three unanswered to earn their first road victory of the season.
Almost identical to Tata Martino’s lineup from last weekend, the Atlanta United starting XI included everyone except for Jeff Larentowicz, who was ruled out due to concussion protocol. Starters against D.C. United: Alec Kann (GK), Greg Garza (LB), Leandro González Pirez (CB), Michael Parkhurst (CB), Tyrone Mears (RB), Carlos Carmona (CM), Julian Gressel (CM), Miguel Almirón (CAM), Tito Villalba (RW), Yamil Asad (LW), and Kenwyne Jones (ST).
It only took nine minutes for Atlanta United to give the sold out crowd at Bobby Dodd Stadium a moment to rally around. Greg Garza found a dashing Yamil Asad on the edge of the box who then served a ball to the back post that found the head of Kenwyne Jones, who notched his second goal of the season. Eight minutes later Jones nearly mimicked his first, almost capitalizing on the end of a Greg Garza cross, but the ball slipped just wide of the post.
At the 25th minute mark, an unfortunate episode for the home side arrived. Lamar Neagle’s attempted cross deflected off of Atlanta’s center back Michael Parkhurst and snuck into the near post to equalize for D.C.
The visitors would then take the lead in the 36th minute as their number 10, Luciano Acosta, cut into the top of the 18-yard-box and fired a low shot to the near post past goalkeeper Alec Kann.
The score line remained 2-1 at the half, but shortly into the second 45 minutes, D.C. United’s Sebastian Le Toux found himself one-on-one with Kann and calmly put away the third goal for the away side.
As the half went on, Martino subbed on Kevin Kratz and Brandon Vazquez to replace some tired legs and provide a spark, but it remained the story of missed opportunities for the home side who tallied 26 shots on the day while only converting one.
“Well, when you create as many chances as we create, you’re going to miss some,” said captain Michael Parkhurst post-match. “I think overall our percentage of finishing quality chances has been pretty high entering the game today. Today was an off day for us, but credit Bill [Hamid]. He made a couple very good saves.”
Atlanta United continue their inaugural season next week as they head north to New York City to face Eastern Conference opponents NYCFC. Atlanta then travel to Portland before returning back home to play the Houston Dynamo. You can secure your seat to the match with an Atlanta United 4-Game Pack, single-game tickets or joining the 30,000 season ticket holders and becoming a Founding Member.