Well, that was frustrating. D.C. United completed the season sweep against Atlanta United at RFK Stadium with a 1-0 victory thanks to, you guessed it, another defensive miscue. This time, instead of a howler by the goalkeeper, it was an own goal that was the culprit. Probably more frustrating was the fact that Atlanta had several opportunities to find the scoreboard early on but could not as DC picked up their seventh win of the season and third against the Five Stripes.
Atlanta looked strong to open the match as they put the DC defense on the back foot right out of the gate - nearly jumping ahead on a near miss by Miguel Almiron in the 4th minute. DC began to find their legs a little around the quarter hour mark and cast a couple of threats Atlanta’s way, but those ultimately came to nothing as in reality they could barely called threats at all. Their best chance came in the 35th minute as Luciano Acosta found himself in space after Anton Walkes failed to cut him off in the midfield, but the chance went wanting when the resulting shot trickled wide despite Deshorn Brown making a run toward net. In the 42nd minute, Atlanta conceded another dangerous chance on a turnover by Greg Garza in his own end, but Lloyd Sam’s attempt off a pretty pass by Paul Arriola was turned aside by Brad Guzan. At the end of the day, the best case scenario would have pointed to a 1-0 lead at the very least for the Five Stripes.
It would turn out that those missed chances in the opening 45 minutes came back to bite Atlanta immediately as the second half got underway. Not even a minute in, they found themselves trailing 1-0 after an own goal deflected in off of Michael Parkhurst after a scramble for the ball in front of the net. All told, the first quarter of the second half wasn’t all that great for the visitors as it very well could have ended up 2-0 DC at several junctures. Things did begin to pick up after Julian Gressel and Brandon Vazquez were subbed in as the attack started to show a little more life and creativity. But Atlanta’s final chance came in stoppage time with a cross off the foot of Vazquez that an open Josef Martinez (who still looked a little out of it after having missed the last three matches before the break) couldn’t make contact with on the far post. That would see the match end 1-0 as a last-gasp free kick on the right edge of the box by Almiron went right into DC’s two-man wall.
Overall, a promising evening turned out to be a poor one for Atlanta United. They’ll look to bounce back against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night on the banks of the Delaware River. They’ll do it without Carlos Carmona, who will miss the match due to yellow card accumulation, so we’ll have to see what the game plan is for the team in that department (possibly Gressel starting in his slot at midfield). Whichever direction Tata Martino wants to take, he and the team will certainly be looking for a result to avoid going into the upcoming international break without a single point gained.