Atlanta United and LAFC played to a 2-2 draw on Sunday in the Five Stripes’ third of four preseason friendlies. The MLS Cup champs raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first half before allowing two second half goals to finish all square. Unfortunately, the match was not available to watch so we cannot give you any special insight as to how the team played. However, since this is an Atlanta United website and we need content, we’re going to try and piece together how the game went using every clue left on social media. Here we go:
First and foremost, the match itself was played in an on-again-off-again monsoon:
We are underway in LA— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) February 10, 2019
Keep it right here for video updates from the match pic.twitter.com/9elDw0Ddag
Atlanta United (3-4-3): Brad Guzan; George Bello, Leandro González Pirez, Miles Robinson, Michael Parkhurst, Julian Gressel, Jeff Larentowicz, Eric Remedi (Anderson Asiedu 70’), Ezequiel Barco, Gonzalo Martínez (Tito Villalba 62’), Josef Martinez (Romario Williams 75’)
LAFC (4-3-3 [?]): Tyler Miller; Jordan Harvey (Amadou Dia), Eddie Segura (Lamar Batista 70’), Walker Zimmerman (Dejan Jakovic 46’), Steven Beitashour (Shaft Brewer Jr 46’), Eduard Atuesta (Mark-Anthony Kaye 46’), Andre Horta (Alejandro Guido), Lee Nguyen (Peter Lee Vassell 62’), Christian Ramirez (Adrien Perez 46’), Carlos Vela, Latif Blessing
Atlanta took the lead within the opening 20 minutes thanks to a perfect free kick by the reigning South American Player of the Year, Pity Martinez. It was a curler that majestically floated over the wall and past a diving Tyler Miller:
He's just automatic— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) February 10, 2019
Pity Martinez curls in an unstoppable free kick! pic.twitter.com/T6XIFsvUpB
Just 10 minutes later and the lead would be increased to two. This time it would be Julian Gressel who got on the scoresheet. Josef Martinez collected the ball inside the area, turned and laid it off to Gressel who hit a weird first-time toe poke that found its way in. Not the most attractive of goals, but the all count the same (exactly nothing in preseason).
Josef ➡️ Julian ➡️ Bottom corner— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) February 10, 2019
Another fast preseason start! pic.twitter.com/9vCAfnfLQ5
While we can’t speak on who controlled the play or which players looked good, it’s usually a good sign when the opposing coach is (supposedly) telling his players to not concede a third before halftime:
Within 15 minutes of the second half, LAFC would pull one back through Adrien Perez. The details of this goal seem complicated. According to the AJC’s Doug Roberson, the big event that led to it was a slip/fall from Miles Robinson. Nevertheless, Perez took advantage but rounding Brad Guzan and finishing easily.
Cool as you like.— LAFC (@LAFC) February 10, 2019
Adrien Perez rounds Brad Guzan and gets one back.
You never want to see your side give up easy goals like this through mistakes, but this is what preseason is for, to work out those kinks.
LAFC captain and supposed FC Barcelona transfer target Carlos Vela would grab the equalizer about 10 minutes from full-time with what appears to be a very nice solo goal. From the only highlight available, the Mexico international dices and slices through Atlanta’s backline and finishes superbly through the legs of Michael Parkhurst and off the far post. Sort of reminiscent of Miguel Almiron’s solo goal against Columbus Crew in Atlanta’s inaugural season.
Go on, Carlos!— LAFC (@LAFC) February 10, 2019
The captain levels the match.
The non-existent spoils would be shared on the day. Roberson left us with this general outlook on the game:
#ATLUTD had rough first 10-15 minutes, rough final 10-15 minutes, but played well in between. That was a theme the previous 2 years.— Doug Roberson (@DougRobersonAJC) February 11, 2019
Atlanta United was kind enough to send us Frank de Boer’s post-game comments. Here are some general points of interest:
- The team played well and he was satisfied with the performance.
- Chalked up the second half decline up to LAFC bringing on a host of fresh legs and Atlanta still working towards full fitness with their starters.
- Mentioned that the watered down field had a big impact on the game.
- Praised Robinson and Barco’s performances and singled out Barco’s defensive efforts, including a 90th minute sliding tackle to break up an attack.
- Believes that LAFC’s first goal should’ve been called back because of a foul on Robinson.
- Admits that Vela’s goal was because of poor defending overall and says that someone has to step up and challenge him.
There you have it. A friendly in preseason with no public access is in the books. I’m not really sure there’s much to be gleaned from this other than perhaps some encouraging performances from guys like Robinson and Barco who appear to both be playing at a much higher level than in past seasons for the club.
The team’s final preseason friendly will take place on Wednesday back at Cal State Fullerton. They’ll be taking on the other LA team in the Galaxy. That game doesn’t appear to have any plans for a live stream either, so we might be back with another glorious blind recap.