Atlanta United Football Club traveled to RFK Stadium Wednesday night looking to avenge their 3-1 loss on April 30th to D.C. United. The beginning of the match appeared promising with the 17th minute goal by midfielder Julian Gressel. However, defensive errors and dodgy refereeing decisions doomed the 5 Stripes. D.C. scored two goals and secured the 2-1 win Wednesday night.
Midfielder Julian Gressel scored his third goal of the season on a Yamil Asad assist, through the box, literally putting the ball on a plate for “Gresselmania” to easily slot past D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid. Asad tallied his ninth assist on the season.
For the 13th time this season, Atlanta United scored the first goal of the match.
Six minutes later, attacking midfielder Luciano Acosta equalized for D.C. United after intercepting a pass and blasting his shot past Alec Kann at the near post. That goal ended a nearly 700 minute long scoring drought for D.C.
As the match progressed, Atlanta United made several defensive errors. It was not lost on the mind of head coach Tata Martino.
“We made many mistakes tonight, especially individual marking mistakes and against D.C.” Martino said after the game. “It’s obvious that those mistakes have cost us in both games. They were individual mistakes and I think you’ve seen in the games we’ve played that we dominated possession again, but D.C. is able to take advantage of the errors.”
Patrick Nyarko put D.C. United ahead after receiving a cross from Ian Harkes in the 60th minute. The Ghanaian midfielder took one touch right on the 8-yard box before hammering home a half volley.
“They’re good crosses on the ball, the ball gets thrown up and it’s a 50-50 ball and the guy goes up and wins it,” said Atlanta United midfielder Jeff Larentowicz. “But I don’t think it’s anything that we can’t handle and it’s something that they do well and if we see them again, obviously we’ll have to handle it better.”
D.C. United have won five games during the 2017 campaign; two have come against Atlanta. Moreover, the Screaming Eagles have scored 12 goals in 16 games; five of them have come against the 5 Stripes.
“I like to recognize the opponents we play, but I think in these two individual games against D.C., our errors are what cost us,” Martino said. “It’s true we’re a new team, but I think teams should raise their level of play for teams like Toronto and New York City because they’re top teams and we’re just a new team.”
Atlanta United (6-7-3, 21 points) returns to MLS action on Saturday, June 24 against Colorado Rapids. Kickoff at Bobby Dodd Stadium is 7:00 p.m. and will be televised on FOX Sports Southeast. Radio broadcast will be on 92.9 The Game.