Atlanta is Back!

Today, Atlanta United won 3-1 against D.C. United! The goals were scored by Josef Martínez, Miguel Almiron, and Tito Villalba

Atlanta United also set the MLS Attendance record for the 3rd time with 72,035 fans in attendance!


The first goal was scored by Josef Martínez (Assisted by Tito Villalba + Darlington Nagbe) Wonderful play to get the goal. Darlington Nagbe slides the through ball to Tito who uses his pace on the right side and puts the ball through a players leg and right pass the sliding defender and the Goalkeeper into Martinez’s feet who slots it home.

The second goal was wonderful build up play and ended with Gressel playing a nice ball in to the top of the box for Almiron who tucks it away nicely in the top corner. Absolute peach of a goal reminiscent of his goal vs. Houston.

The second goal was by Tito Villalba off a wonderful free kick from Miguel Almiron!

Takeaways (Basically my notes while watching)

1st Half

  • Higher energy/sense of urgency in first 5 minutes
  • Tata said they needed to be more patient and they’ve done that early on. Much more precise as well
  • 3-5-2 worked well early on as it allowed for better spacing. Much more comfortable
  • Atlanta winning balls back in the midfield
  • Atlanta pressuring to win back the ball nicely
  • Martinez playing a little deep
  • Lots of space outside on the wings
  • Almiron, Tito, and Martinez all having great games so far. No communication/chemistry problems between anyone


  • Defense played well first half. Escobar shadowed Asad all half and did well. No shots on goal for D.C.
  • Overall the team looked slower but they were focused a lot on possession as Tata said after the game last week “I think that what we need to work on is in our possession. First, we have to be better in our attack as we control the ball and not to lose the ball due to our bad decisions.” (59% Possession in first half)

2nd Half

  • LGP and Garza are certainly not afraid to go in for tackles.
  • Tito is doing wonderfully today and I think is prospering in the 3-5-2

  • Gressel and Almiron have had some great give-and-gos
  • Last week the team looked lethargic but this team looks like they have a pep in their step
  • Last week when the team would give the ball away they wouldn’t chase after it but it looks like Tata got them into it as they are quick to react and try to win the ball back.


  • 22 Crosses by the 84th minute
  • Parkhurst all game had a few bad touches but it cost him at the end as Mattocks scored a consolation goal

Player Of the Game

Miguel Almiron

Goals: 1

Shots (On goal): 5 (1)

Assists: 1

Miguel didn’t have the greatest game last week but no one expected that to continue. He was lethargic and lacked energy last week but you could tell that he changed something as he ran all over the place and was one of the most active on the field. His goal was sublime as well as his assist. The most impressive thing per usual was his dribbling. He was put into a lot of tight spaces and did well to dribble out of them but also had some nice passes in to tight windows.

Final Thoughts

The Atlanta Hate train didn’t last long. Many people were ready to bail on Atlanta after the 4-0 loss and many began to say they told you so about the problems in defense. I believe those problems were put to rest as the team, especially the defense, looked stout. The change in formation definitely changed the defense a little but I think the loss contributed more to this win. Atlanta seemed like they needed a wake-up call and they got that the first week and I think it made them realize that everyone had to contribute on defense. Atlanta’s offense also vastly improved. Last week, offense wasn’t necessarily the problem but they did miss a lot of chances. They didn’t waste their chances this week in terms of finishing but the chances were also much better. The last thing that changed was the hustle. Atlanta lost a lot of 50-50 and loose balls last week and it led to a couple of goals and good chances for Houston. Garza mentioned in his post game interview that training didn’t necessarily change their hustle but their mental state did*.


Overall, it was a great game as Atlanta United got their first-ever win against D.C. United and a lot of the problems we saw in week 1 weren’t present. Hopefully, this can continue the next few weeks.


What’s Next?

Atlanta United welcomes Vancouver Whitecaps to town on Saturday at 7:30.


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Phil Veasley
Phil Veasley is a resident of Atlanta who has been a die-hard Hawks fan since 2005. He is Civil Engineer student at KSU. Currently, Phil writes for Atlanta Hawks Talk while also managing all ATLSportsHQ sites. He can be reached on Twitter at @_ATLPhil

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