CCL Match Recap: United heading back to Atlanta down 3-1 on aggregate

ATLUTD starting XI on Thursday Night

Atlanta’s CONCACAF debut match vs Herediano, did not go to plan. 

The debut of Frank De Boer’s side was overshadowed by costly errors and mistakes. From miscues on defense by LGP and Parkhurst to unlucky missed opportunities on goal from Josef Martinez and Tito Villalba it was not a good night.

Overall Atlanta’s performance was poor for most of the game. Atlanta never found a rhythm or gained possession in the midfield and routinely got caught numerous times out of position on defense leading to dangerous counter attacks on goal, one on which Herediano took advantage of and scored.

Photo Credit: Doug Roberson-AJC

From the minute the referees whistle blew to start the match, the home side immediately pressured and pressed on United’s three center backs and it didn’t take long for them to find an opener as Gonzalez Pirez’s header back to GK Brad Guzan whp was very weak allowing Herediano player Jose Guillermo Ortiz to chip Guzan and score for the 1-0 lead.

In the 33rd minute Herediano would double their lead off a goal by Randall Azofeifa in which Atlanta’s defenders stepped up to halt Herediano’s movement upfield leaving a huge gap in the middle of the field with no midfield help or recovery primarily from Remedi and Larentowicz.

In the 41st minute Julian Gressel would find the back of the net off a deflection cutting the lead to 2-1 at the half.

Unfortunately in the 50th minute set piece problems still lingered for United as Herediano’s third goal comes from a free kick in a good position leading to the third goal scored by Esteban Granados as the ball reached the back post.

Other chances later on came from substitute Darlington Nagbe whose shot was saved by the goalie and Tito Villalba’s great effort from a good distance hitting off the post in stoppage time.

Fifth Third Bank Stadium will be the venue for the 2nd leg

United will now have to go back to the drawing board and figure out the mistakes they made in their loss and practice ways to correct them so they will not happen again in next weeks game at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw on February 28th. Atlanta’s away goal was very beneficiary for keeping this series alive as now with a 2-0 win back home Atlanta will advance on away goal difference on aggregate which would be 3-3. It will be very important for Atlanta United not to allow Herediano to score in next weeks game as it will make for a much greater uphill battle and likely end United’s hopes of moving on to the next round and achieve their goal of CCL glory.

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