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Atlanta United loses, fails to make playoffs for the first time in franchise history

Decision Day brought an end to Atlanta’s up-and-mostly-down, pandemic-impacted season.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United’s 1-0 Decision Day loss to the Columbus Crew on Sunday confirmed that the Five Stripes will not appear in the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Heading into the final regular season match of the 2020 season*, Atlanta United had to beat the Crew to have a chance of making a post-season appearance. There were some potential paths to making a post-season appearance, but Atlanta United’s defeat in Ohio made those permutations irrelevant.



The first contentious moment of the match came in the 15th minute when Marcelino Moreno was brought down in the Columbus Crew penalty area. The foul on Moreno constituted a VAR review at the least, but play went on without another look.

Jon Gallagher seemingly earned Atlanta United a penalty after the Irishman and Columbus keeper Eloy Room collided into each other, but center referee Ismail Elfath deemed it to not be a penalty because Gallagher was already falling when the two collided.

Minutes later, Zelarayan scored Columbus’ first goal of the match.

In the 41st minute, George Bello defended for his life (he actually did really in this sequence) against a 2v1 Columbus attack. Pedros Santos found had a free shot in the penalty area but skied it.

Columbus striker Gyasi Zardes extended his team’s lead in the 56th minute.

Jurgen Damm earned his team a penalty in the 58th minute. Without a VAR interference on this occasion, Marcelino Moreno slotted the penalty in the bottom right corner to give Atlanta a chance of making a comeback.

Franco Escobar’s red card sparked off a heated argument between the two teams, but the match ended up finishing 2-1

Tweet of the Match

What’s Next?

Remember life before March? Unfortunately, CONCACAF does, and that means Atlanta United has to play its second leg against Club America in December. See you then.