With the roof open for the first time this season, Atlanta United defeated shorthanded Philadelphia Union 3-1 thanks to a record-tying hat trick from Josef Martinez!
Decisions by the Ref can help Atlanta United
For the last few weeks, Atlanta United have continuously had calls go against them and it has caused them to drop points. MLS refs are obviously poor but they have been uncharacteristically poor the last few weeks. It is no excuse for Atlanta’s mediocre form but it certainly contributed to it. Today, Atlanta United benefited from the ref though as Atlanta got a debatable penalty call in the 19th minute which was followed up by 2 red cards to the Union. That decision certainly helped Atlanta in the long run but hopefully Pro Referees gets their stuff fixed.
Edit: As I finished typing this, the Union scored their second goal thanks to an offsides player that wasn’t reviewed. Ironic.
Atlanta’s offense continues to struggle
Although Atlanta won this game handily, they only scored 1 goal from open play despite having 29 (15)shots (SOG) and 4+ shots inside the 6 yard box. This offense has had continuous problems the last few weeks and have lost their early season shooting boots. Almiron is one of the biggest contributors to this. He had an open goal in the 92nd minute but failed to score today. On top of that, Almiron has shot the ball 65 times this year, has had 20 shots on goal, and only 2 goals from those shots. That’s atrocious. For a lot of Atlanta United, especially today, it was their shot selection that hurt them. Atlanta, even with 2 men up, relied too much on crosses and shots from tight angles. I’m not extremely worried about our finishing struggles as it will eventually even itself out but we can’t afford to miss a lot anymore as we face tougher opponents 11 on 11.
Set Pieces are still a problem
Much was said last year about Atlanta United and their set piece problems but a lot of it was gone this year with Atlanta seeming much more poised and confident on set pieces. Philly scored their only goal tonight off a set piece and while I still believe it was offsides it was bad. Atlanta left a man unmarked and it came back and bit them in the form of a goal. Thankfully it had no impact on the final outcome but when Atlanta faces a tougher opponent, it could.
On a crazy night, Atlanta United cruised to a 3-1 victory against the bad Union. Although I love the result, I hated the game. I hate winning this way as I think it puts an asterisk next to the win. Thankfully it doesn’t in the standings where Atlanta United remain the best team in the league!
Atlanta United goes to Kennesaw State to face Charleston Battery in their first US Open Cup match of the season!