A disappointing night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Atlanta United, who fell 2-1 to FC Dallas on home turf Saturday.
No big surprises in the lineup from Frank de Boer, who deployed the same eleven that beat New England last week after Eric Remedi came off –– with Ezequiel Barco keeping his spot in the lineup in place of the injured Remedi. The full XI: Brad Guzan (GK), Brek Shea (LB) Leandro González Pirez (CB), Miles Robinson (CB), Michael Parkhurst (RB), Jeff Larentowicz (CM), Darlington Nagbe (CM), Ezequiel Barco (CAM), Tito Villalba (LW), Josef Martinez (ST), Julian Gressel (RW).
Atlanta United started high up the field, building the high press that would go on to define the game. While the pressure was constant for the Five Stripes, Dallas got on the board early with a quick counter-attack, launching a long ball that fell behind the Atlanta United defense, finding Jesus Ferreira to slot home the opening goal.
The ensuing 80 minutes were filled with relentless pressure from the Five Stripes, with chance after chance knocking on the door. Ezequiel Barco forced the goalkeeper into two impressive saves from free kicks, and slammed another long-range curler off the post in the first half. But Atlanta United couldn’t create enough clear-cut chances against a packed-in defense, and the score line went into the half 1-0 to the visiting side.
The second half proved to be much like the first, with Atlanta United piling on pressure, in total racking up 22 shots with more than 71% possession on the match. Ezequiel Barco had another dangerous free kick that bounced off the crossbar, while Josef Martinez couldn’t quite convert after getting behind the defense. And FC Dallas made Atlanta United pay for their missed chances, with a long ball once again getting behind the Five Stripes defense, leaving an open goal from short range that brought the scoreline to 2-0.
Atlanta was able to get on the board late in stoppage time, with Brek Shea awarded a penalty kick for a late foul in the box. Josef Martinez was clinical as ever from the spot to bring the deficit back to one, but it was too late for a comeback, with the ref blowing the whistle with a full-time score of 2-1.
The Five Stripes will get another chance at redemption in just a week as they host Western Conference foes Colorado Rapids at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday. Tickets to the match are still on sale, so make sure you’ve reserved yours here.