Atlanta United managed to earn a hard-fought point after drawing on the road with a tough Revolution side who’s been nearly unstoppable inside Gillette Stadium.
With Miguel Almirón sidelined with injury and a heavy stretch of matches in a short span, head coach Tata Martino made a few changes to his regularly known starting lineup. Winger Yamil Asad received a rest, while midfielder Chris McCann stepped into the wide role. Defender Greg Garz slid back into the lineup after returning from injury and Julian Gressel was once again Martino’s selection to fill in Almirón’s shoes. The full lineup: Brad Guzan (GK), Greg Garza (LB), Leandro González Pirez (CB), Michael Parkhurst (CB), Anton Walkes (RB), Carlos Carmona (CM), Jeff Larentowicz (CM), Chris McCann (LW), Julian Gressel (CAM), Tito Villalba (RW), Josef Martinez (ST).
Going into the game, Atlanta knew this was not going to be the same opponent that they topped 7-0 at home just a few weeks ago. New England has won six straight games in their home and their toughness Saturday night proved just that with the first 45 minutes quite the even battle.
Compared to their usual performances, especially as of late, it was an atypical night for Atlanta United. Normally on the dominant side of the possession, Atlanta found themselves chasing the ball more than customary with New England seeing the majority of the ball. However, it wasn’t all Revolution as Atlanta still managed to create a few scoring opportunities of their own, ATL UTD’s best chance of the half a product of their famous fast-paced transition play. Some nice interplay between Julian Gressel and Anton Walkes freed the fullback down the right wing, and his cross found the head of Tito Villalba perfectly, but the shot drifted just wide.
Goalkeeper Brad Guzan was also busier than he has been in a few matches having to come up a big on a few occasions to keep the match deadlocked. In the 23rd minute, New England’s Andrew Farrell played though a storming Diego Fagundez who, with a crafty few touches, found himself alone at the six-yard box, but couldn’t find his way past an outstretched Guzan. Atlanta didn’t concede a goal in the first half but did suffer an unfortunate blow as defender Greg Garza pulled up with an injury and had to be subbed off much earlier than desired.
The second half posed an even tougher challenge for the visiting side as New England continued to apply the pressure, forcing Guzan and the back line into constant state of survival. But Atlanta showcased their resilience and spirit, putting their bodies on the line and thwarting countless Revolution attacks and kept the home team off the scoreboard.
Although on the defending foot for most of the half, Martino kept his eye on the prize, putting in some fresh legs in the attack, bringing on Kenwyne Jones and Jacob Peterson for a second half spark. But the substitutes couldn’t make the difference with the game ending in a scoreless draw. It marked Atlanta United’s fourth straight clean sheet, with the red, black and gold on a streak of more than six and a half hours of competitive play without conceding a goal.
Though always seeking three points, Atlanta can be proud of a hard-earned result in a tough environment against a side that’s been impressive at home. Atlanta United will hope to continue their eight-match unbeaten run as they are back in their fortress of a home on Tuesday hosting Minnesota United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Tickets are still available, so make sure you’ve reserved your spot here.