Atlanta United were handed their sixth straight loss away from home by LAFC in a wild 4-3 match on Friday night. The team with the best record in MLS proved why they are on pace to set a ton of records and waltz away with at least the Supporters’ Shield in tow.
The match couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the Five Stripes as they found themselves up an early goal thanks to a surprising name. Mo Adams, making his first start since his trade to Atlanta United, found the back of the net just 70 seconds into the match after a set piece routine ended up at his feet unmarked in the box. The midfielder-turned-left wingback side-footed in his first professional goal to give his new team a 1-0 lead away from home.
After the surprising opening, the match settled down with LAFC dominating possession and Atlanta content to defend. The plan was working for a while until just after the half hour mark when the hosts came alive and showed their quality.
Adama Diomande leveled the match in the 33rd minute after finding a gap in Atlanta’s back line and beating Brad Guzan with a snapshot to the near post.
Just a minute later and the Supporters’ Shield leaders found themselves in front thanks to a simple finish by Diego Rossi after a Miles Robinson clearance fell right to him unmarked in the box.
Both goals had questions of marginal offside calls that the VAR assistant didn’t feel needed to be looked at.
VAR would once again be the topic of discussion in the 42nd minute when Carlos Vela won a penalty for LA. Franco Escobar and Miles Robinson bumped into the Golden Boot leader near the top of the box and referee Ismail Elfath gave the penalty and VAR once again didn’t trigger.
Halftime didn’t come quick enough as the hosts tacked on a fourth through Eduard Atuesta. The midfielder finished off a very nice and flowing attack that left the Atlanta defense befuddled.
Josef Martinez would then pull one back to make it 4-2 and bring an insane first half to a close.
Frank de Boer’s side were right back in the match five minutes after the break when substitute Justin Meram forced LAFC defender Eddie Segura into an own goal to bring the score to 4-3.
Chances for an equalizer would come the rest of the way. Both Josef Martinez and Julian Gressel each had clear looks at goal, but it just wouldn’t come. A wild one that will be talked about for while.
This match had it all. Terrible defending from both sides. Bad refereeing. Poor coaching decisions. It was just a crazy match that I’m not sure we learned a ton from. We already knew LAFC was good. We know Atlanta is bad away from home.
One bright spot to be excited about is the return of Ezequiel Barco. He looked very lively in his 30 minutes. It appears as if he will fit perfectly into the 3-5-2 once he’s fully fit.
DSS Man of the Match
Ezequiel Barco. Because I said so and no one else deserved it.
Darlington Nagbe Unsung Hero of the Match
Tweet of the Night
Folks are asking why take off Pity for Barco. I'm not sure who else FdB could take off to get him on. He just put on Meram. Gressel's crosses are too good. Hyndman is needed for defense. I supposed he could have take off Remedi or Nagbe, but that's inviting trouble. #ATLUTD— Doug Roberson (@DougRobersonAJC) July 27, 2019
Josef Martinez, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Ezequiel Barco, Brad Guzan and Pity Martinez are off to Orlando as part of the MLS All-Star team that will take on Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. Atlanta United return home on Saturday to host Zlatan Ibrahimovic and LA Galaxy. That match is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. and will air on big FOX.
Them Five Stripes is Hell?
Not my shtick. Ask Sam.