Atlanta United opened the quarterfinals of the Concacaf Champions League with a rather unconvincing performance against Club América, conceding twice in the opening 15 minutes and 3 times in the first half to fall 3-0 at Estadio Azteca.
It didn’t take long for América to get on the scoreboard—as Leo Suarez scored an absolute banger in the 11th minute to put the hosts in front. Minutes later, Henry Martín found space behind the Atlanta defense and doubled the lead for Las Aguilas, while Bruno Valdez headed one home in the 36th on a corner routine for a third América goal.
Atlanta’s defense looked disinterested at times as América attackers were given yards of space to shoot at will on Brad Guzan, while its attack was largely lacking and failed to seriously trouble keeper Óscar Jiménez.
The second half looked to get off to a better start for Atlanta, but Matheus Rossetto ended up coming off in the 58th minute after coming on in halftime, as if Atlanta needed more injuries to worry about. We’ll hear more about his condition when the club returns home. Meanwhile, it had a few cracks at what would have been a crucial away goal to bring back to Kennesaw, none closer than Pity Martinez’s set piece effort that hit off both the crossbar and post, and a later shot that found the crossbar once more.
(A painful, but true) Tweet of the night...
Quick pause from coronavirus concerns to point out that one of the best, highest-spending rosters in MLS is getting smashed by a club that spends money that can make you actually competitive in the global market of the sport of soccer which is the sport Major League Soccer plays.— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) March 12, 2020
...and a recap thought
Sure, Atlanta were facing the absence of Josef Martinez, Franco Escobar and Miles Robinson, but you’d at least this evening’s match was more competitive. It wasn’t, and for the 2nd year in a row, it will return home with a massive 2nd half deficit to make up.
This is a club that has big ambitions: it talks of being relevant on the continental and global scale and its desire to aggressively add to its trophy case. At the end of the day, though, it’s clear that Atlanta United are being handcuffed by the same limited rules that has plagued MLS for years and have kept its clubs from truly closing the gap between itself and its counterpart below the border. It appears that unless the Montreal Impact can go on the road and turn a 1-2 scoreline at a scrappy Honduran side in Olimpia and NYCFC can overcome a stoppage time away goal next week in Monterrey against Tigres, MLS’s hopes of finally breaking through in CCL rests with LAFC.
Man of the Match
Ezequiel Barco. A bright spot in an otherwise dim evening for the Five Stripes.
MLS and Concacaf have suspended all matches for their respective leagues. Stay safe.