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Atlanta United blows away D.C. United, moves back into playoff picture

A convincing road win was just what the doctor ordered for Atlanta United.

Atlanta United FC v DC United Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Atlanta United is back in playoff position thanks to a dominant 4-0 win over a hapless D.C. United team Saturday night in the nation’s capital at Audi Field.

After struggling for scoring for most of the season, Atlanta let loose a barrage thanks to some superb attacking moves capped by Jon Gallagher and Brooks Lennon — the former scoring a brace and the latter with an absolute screamer from the edge of the box. It’s the first time in Atlanta United history the team has scored four goals and kept a clean sheet on the road.

But it didn’t stop there. It was a night full of unfamiliar sights for Atlanta United and its supporters this season, underscored by a goal conceded SCORED in the game’s opening minutes.

After Gallgher got things started for Atlanta, Brooks Lennon had what WE THOUGHT was going to be the goal of the night with a sensational strike off his weaker (but clearly not “weak”) left foot.

Atlanta took the two goal lead into halftime, and coming out of halftime, boy were there some shenanigans. D.C. United manager Ben Olsen subbed in midfielder Russell Canouse, only for everyone to realize five minutes into the second half that Canouse was not on D.C.’s match squad. So Canouse was forced to come off and was sent to the locker room (though not red carded) and the game resumed. The drama was one of the more bizarre moments you will see in a soccer match, and undoubtedly an embarrassing moment for MLS and D.C. United.

Here’s the whole sequence, which is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT worth watching again.

So, hilariously, not long after the game resumed, Atlanta United scored without a doubt its best goal of the season.

Sensational goal.

Jahn wrapped it up with a goal of his own that can only be described as extremely “Jahnny.”

Man of the Match: Jon Gallagher

Atlanta United’s Irish draft pick from 2018 is maturing in front of our eyes. After a successful loan spell where he gained valuable experience and playing time at Aberdeen, Gallagher has continued to take advantage of every opportunity under a familiar manager in Stephen Glass. He continued his scintillating run of form Saturday with two tremendous goals, and is proving to be Atlanta’s most threatening player in attack despite humble beginnings. Well done Jon!

Parting thoughts

  • Atlanta United needed a night like this desperately. It’s one thing to grab a point at the death vs. Orlando, or manage a win thanks to a handball penalty conversion vs. Dallas. Winning like the team did Saturday at Audi Field — by actually creating chances and scoring multiple goals through combination play and on the counter attack — is different. Yes, the team they were playing against is “not very good” according to their own manager Ben Olsen, but sometimes you need to demolish a bad team to build some real confidence, and Atlanta did exactly that.
  • On the other hand, DC United is so, so bad. My god. Brooks Lennon said after the game that this team is not just gaining confidence, but genuinely improving. That’ll be put to the test Wednesday against Orlando City who will have revenge on their minds.