Sunday night was a night to forget for Atlanta United fans and players.
We’ll make this recap short and sweet for everyone because overall there wasn’t many positives from Sunday Night’s game.
Atlanta kicked off their MLS season in a rainy and cold Washington D.C. as they looked to steal points before a mid-week on Wednesday in Mexico vs Monterrey. United’s starting XI on Sunday consisted of most of the first team players we saw play in last week’s victory over Herediano which was a surprise to many as we expected De Boer to rest his starters for the upcoming CCL game on Wednesday. Pity Martinez and Julian Gressel both came off the bench around the 60th minute after D.C. United scored their second goal of the game.
Atlanta United could never find a rhythm at all as every chance of a possible counter attack or goal scoring opportunity was thwarted and ended unsuccessfully. It wasn’t pretty to watch. D.C. open up the scoring in stoppage time of the first half off a corner which was crossed into the box by Wayne Rooney, received by Luciano Acosta in which he tapped the ball in open space towards Paul Arriola. Without hesitation Arriola scored the first goal of the game. We all saw it was coming with the numerous chances D.C. United had earlier in which they were saved by GK Brad Guzan or went wide.
Atlanta’s struggles with defending set pieces was a cause of giving up the first goal and shows they still need to improve in that flaw.
The second goal comes in the 58th minute as Luciano Acosta’s strike from outside the box took an awkward bounce to the right off the soaked and unbalanced pitch as it skipped by past Brad Guzan, very unlucky goal to concede.
Atlanta United’s fitness and preparedness will now be a big question coming into Wednesday’s game as this team will face it’s hardest challenge yet.
Atlanta United will take on Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals on Wednesday March 6th at 10 P.M. E.T from the Estadio BBVA Bancomer in Monterrey, Mexico.
With names like Mexican International Miguel Layun, Argentine nationals like Rogelio Funes Mori and Maximiliano Meza and Colombian goal scorer Dorlan Pabon, the United defense will have their hands full trying to stop and contain these dangerous players who can create havoc on the field for the opposition if not taken seriously.
Monterrey are 3-time CCL Champions all of these titles were won three straight times between the 2010 and 2013 competitions so they are very experienced in CONCACAF play.
Monterrey barley defeated Salvadorian team Alianza in which the aggregate finished only 1-0 for the Mexican side. Nicolas Sanchez’s penalty conversion in the 86th minute of the 2nd leg was just enough to get Monterrey through to the next stage, but now with greater competition coming up against the defending MLS Cup Champions, Monterrey will surely try to play with all their strength and try to make a statement against Atlanta.
Despite the limited and short amount of rest and recovery time there is no time for excuses. United have had these weeks in the past MLS seasons where they have had to play three games in seven days so this should be nothing new for United’s players.
Atlanta United players Brad Guzan and Michael Parkhurst expressed their feelings after the game about what is to come. Both had similar responses in saying we need to be ready for anything no matter what condition we are in and how tired and exhausted we are. Both know that this game will be very difficult so everyone has to be mentally and physically ready.
The squad practiced Monday morning in D.C. before flying later to Monterrey. Hopefully once again Atlanta United proves they will bounce back after another loss like they always do, but this will be the hardest one not to lose to for sure.
Fans can watch and follow the CCL Competition and Atlanta United play on the Yahoo Sports website or by using the Yahoo Sports App on your device. Games will also be broadcasted and shown live on Univision Deportes. VAMOS UNITED!
Stay with ATLSportsHQ all season long for the best ATLUTD coverage and all other things Atlanta Sports, for the fans, by the fans.
Edin Pelja |@Julio_Goat Twitter | @ATLSportsHQ Twitter/IG