Atlanta United pulled off just their third away win of the season on Saturday night in a wild affair in Toronto. The Five Stripes escaped BMO Field with a 2-0 result, but did so at the cost of losing one of their star players to a red card. Here are a few thoughts on an absolutely bonkers night north of the border.
- It’s hard to even know where to begin with this one as the match had almost everything you could ask for. Both teams had spells of entertaining and attacking play with numerous chances created. There were blinding moments of back and forth sequences throughout the night that were really fun to watch. There were clutch moments all over the field, most notably Brad Guzan’s wonder save on Omar Gonzalez late in the match, and obviously Marcelino Moreno’s solo clincher in stoppage time. Then there was the extracurriculars that resulted in a double-red card incident between Ezequiel Barco and Auro Jr. that left many confused but only added to the dramatics of the evening. Needless to say, it was an enthralling match of soccer that thankfully ended with an Atlanta win.
- The one sour note of the night is Barco’s dismissal. He once again was a star on the night with his brilliant individual runs and also expertly combining with teammates around the box, including helping set up the first goal of the match. He’s simply in the best form of his Atlanta career and the club cannot afford to lose him for any period of time. For what it’s worth, the only replays we saw of the incident showed a very minor coming together, one that was even more tame than the Josef/Wanyama incident earlier this season. Perhaps the club will try to appeal the red card with a very important match against NYCFC coming up on Wednesday.
- Even though Toronto FC aren’t very good this season, they have plenty of talent all over the field. That makes it even more impressive how dangerous the team looked without Josef Martinez available. It took about 20 minutes for the team to find their footing in the match, but once they did they began bombarding the TFC goal with shots and decent chances. With a little better luck and finishing this match could’ve been wrapped up at halftime. Nevertheless, it was a promising attacking performance without the main talisman front and center.
- While the win moves Atlanta above the red playoff line once again, the work is far from over. With just five matches remaining, the club’s playoff hopes are still very much in the air. Their next three matches are all at home, with the final two on the road. They’ll need to be sharp in every one of their remaining matches and make sure to secure the points they’re expected to. The NYCFC match on Wednesday should go a long ways in determining how the rest of the season plays out.