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Atlanta United at D.C. United recap: Double Trouble

The Five Stripes fell victim to the elder United for the second straight time.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at D.C. United Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Atlanta United F.C. continued their miserable road form Wednesday night as a world class finish and a universe class mistake gave D.C. United a 2-1 win over the Five Stripes despite an opening goal from Julian Gressel.

Atlanta came out of the gate slowly. An early chance in the air for Patrick Nyarko sailed just wide to highlight a sleepy first ten minutes. Atlanta eventually began to find their footing though, and in the blink of an eye, opened the scoring in the 17th minute with a blistering counter-attack.

Pressure from Miguel Almiron and company forced a sloppy pass from Marcelo Sarvas and Yamil Asad pounced on it. Asad’s pass played a streaking Almiron in behind the D.C. defense and Miguel coolly slid the ball across the face of the goal to Gressel for a gorgeous opener and Gressel’s third goal of the season.

Almiron picked up assist number five and Asad took the league lead in assists with his ninth of the season. At that point in the game, Asad had one less assist on the season than D.C. United had goals.

From the point on, the Atlanta defense cruised as they played mistake-free soccer as D.C., who had only scored once in their previous seven games, continued to strug--- OH GOD NO MICHAEL, ALEC WHAT ARE YOU DOING

A total cluster at the back from the Five Stripes gifted Luciano Acosta his fourth goal of the season and his second against Atlanta.

Atlanta lost out on a huge chance just moments later when Almiron played a through ball behind the defense and into the path of Asad who was taken down in the box. What would have been an obvious penalty was instead ruled offside and the game stayed tied.

Both teams traded chances in a wide open and sloppy half, and the game stayed tied at 1-1 as the teams headed into the locker room to correct their mistakes and discuss how to come out in the second half and play an aesthetically pleasing, cohesive game of soccer.

The game somehow turned sloppier and more wide open.

Atlanta began playing the ball is lava and D.C. began hammering crosses. In the 51st minute, Nyarko just missed giving D.C. the lead when he skied for a cross and thumped a header into the ground in front of goal. The ball had just enough pace to skip up and off the crossbar to somewhat miraculously keep the game tied.

Nyarko, unfortunately, had his best attempt saved for later.

I mean. C’mon.

Tyrone Mears did him all the favors but that’s still a fantastic finish.

Now down 2-1, Josef Martinez came on in the 62nd minute for his third league appearance since returning from injury.

With Martinez now on, the team’s continued to attempt trading drunken haymakers. Luciano Acosta controlled the attack for D.C....

and Atlanta…uhhh…kept trying their hardest.

As time ticked away from the Five Stripes, they began to control the game and apply relentless pressure on a D.C. defense that began stockpiling bodies behind the ball.

Despite a few half decent chances -- including a 94th-minute freekick from Martinez that Bill Hamid went full stretch to reach

-- Atlanta couldn’t break through and left D.C. with their second loss in as many games to a team that entered the day with a -13 goal differential.

D.C. outshot the Five Stripes 17-15 to pick up their second win in eight games. Atlanta dropped their fourth road game in five tries. They stay at seventh in the Eastern Conference table with 21 points, just one behind Columbus with a game in hand.

Atlanta is back at home on Saturday at 7 p.m. to take on the Colorado Rapids.

They’ll be glad to be home and even happier to not be playing D.C. United.