Atlanta United’s 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake saw them take another step closer to the Supporters’ Shield, maintaining their current lead of four points. Goals from Julian Gressel and Tito Villalba gave the Five Stripes all three points at home as crunch time in the season approaches.
With all three points secured, there were plenty of positives to look at during a comfortable win for Atlanta.
The 16-year old from Douglasville, Georgia made his debut on Saturday and impressed the crowd of over 72,000 fans in attendance. Slotting in at left-back, Bello looked good in his first ever outing for Atlanta United, albeit there were a few signs of understandable nerves.
Bello was able to justify Tata Martino’s decision to trust him in a game that Atlanta needed to win to maintain their lead in the Supporters’ Shield race and has proven that he can be trusted down the line.
I don’t think it’s possible to dislike Julian Gressel, because he just oozes class and charisma. His importance to Atlanta United has been severely overlooked by many and on Saturday, he proved to be the difference by scoring the opening goal in spectacular fashion.
Time and time again, Gressel provides stability and consistency for Atlanta United, no matter what position he is thrown into. A much deserved goal and assist on Saturday will only help his confidence and show fans why he’s so important to this team.
Tito Villalba’s week just can’t get any better. Two games, two goals and two appearance’s on Harry’s “Winners & Losers” list is enough to make anyone’s week spectacular.
Villalba was on target yet again during Saturday’s 2-0 win, striking from distance to secure Atlanta’s victory. While he did get some help from Nick Rimando’s back, Villalba showed yet again how dangerous he can be from outside the box and constantly threatened Real Salt Lake’s backline.
Anyone that doubts Julian Gressel
As stated before, Julian Gressel’s importance to Atlanta United cannot be underestimated. The German doesn’t have the name recognition that his star teammates’ have, but he’s proven that he is one of the club’s top players. If there are people doubting him, which I’m sure it’s a very small amount, you should stop.
It was a fairly complete performance from Atlanta United and no one seemed to put a foot wrong. There were sloppy moments and frustrating sequences at both ends of the pitch, but not enough for anyone to earn themselves the title of loser this week. Now after a busy week, everyone can just breathe a little.