Atlanta United didn’t let any of us relax through a nervy second leg of its Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 matchup against LD Alajuelense, but in the end the Five Stripes did enough to secure advancement to the quarterfinals with a 2-0 win on aggregate.
GK Rocco Rios Novo 6: Made a big save in a crucial moment late in the match that easily could have been a goal if not for some quick reflexes. His distribution was decent — some good and some bad. Overall he didn’t have a ton to do in the game, but it was a solid performance from a young player in a big situation.
LB George Bello 5: In both legs of the tie, Bello has had much more work to do defensively than his counterpart on the other side of the field. Bello was sloppier tonight than he was a week ago. Some sketchy touches in dangerous situations, but he survived.
CB Miles Robinson 7 (Man of the Match): Miles Robinson gives you a consistent 7/10 performance nearly every match, and tonight was no different. And considering I have no idea who to give MOTM to, he’s getting it again.
CB Anton Walkes 7: Both CBs are getting 7s because this team kept a clean sheet with an emergency goalkeeper and neither one erred noticeably throughout the 90 minutes. Alan Franco may be on his way into the XI soon, but Walkes will certainly not make it easy.
RB Brooks Lennon 6: As mentioned earlier, Lennon had less to do on the defensive side, and going forward he was effective. Put a couple decent crosses in with no one attacking the ball. He also played some nice corners, one of which was headed off the post.
DM Santiago Sosa 6: Not nearly as involved in possession as he was in the away leg due to a tactical change. He still positioned himself well and kept the ball moving, though not much that was very incisive. Won some important duels defensively.
CM Franco Ibarra 5: Wasn’t very involved in the game overall. By the time he was removed, only Josef Martinez had fewer touches, and Ibarra was inconsistent when the ball did find his feet. Not bad, but not good either.
CM Emerson Hyndman 6: Hyndman was lively and tidy with the ball most of the night. He combined well with Barco at times in central areas and had a scoring chance early that was blocked. It was a vintage ho-hum Hyndman performance.
LW Ezequiel Barco 6: I was controversial with Barco a week ago in the first leg, but he was one of Atlanta’s better players tonight, despite the fact that the attack sputtered overall. Barco drove the play forward while also being alert defensively to shut down some counter attack situations. He wasn’t perfect and still had some giveaways, but I thought he was much sharper and was credited with an assist.
RW Marcelino Moreno 6: Found some space in the channels but no end product from the Argentine making his season debut after missing the first leg. You can very easily see an in-form Moreno taking the team and players around him from good to great.
ST Josef Martinez 4: Was barely involved in the play (admittedly not necessarily his fault), but just never looked a real threat all evening. This rating does not reflect how important it was for Josef to get 65 minutes of action under his belt, so it was still a successful night for the player on an individual level.
SUB Jurgen Damm 6: I don’t know how confident anyone was that Damm was actually going to score until the final chance, but he certainly created danger on a couple of occasions with runs into the box in the second half. Both ended disappointingly though — the first he dribbled and dribbled and dribbled until the chance had passed, and the other he took a shot too quickly when he could have played Lisandro Lopez in on goal.
SUB Lisandro Lopez 6: Clearly looked sharper and more effective than Josef Martinez.