Atlanta United returned to Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday night in front of more than 20,000 beautiful fans on a night that felt just perfect.
GK Brad Guzan 6: Made a quality save with his lot in the opening moments. Guzan commanded his box well on the night, though nearly got caught out late, but thankfully a lobbed ball glanced off the post and into his mitts.
LB George Bello 7: Probably Bello’s best performance so far this season, though it would’ve looked a LOT better if he was rewarded for some of his lung-busting overlapping runs down the left side.
CB Miles Robinson 6: Robinson basically didn’t put a foot wrong for and entire half, but was at fault for Chicago’s goal in the first minute of the second half in what appeared to be a communication mixup. Both he and Anton Walkes failed to play a ball into the box, not knowing that Chicago’s Luka Stojanovic was making a run to the far post.
CB Anton Walkes 6: As mentioned, combined with Robinson on an error leading to a goal. But also like Miles, Walkes was generally solid yet again.
RB Brooks Lennon 7: Another hell of an effort from Lennon who is looking like he could be one of the best right backs in MLS if he can keep these level of performances. Dangerous crosses into the box and played both inside and outside of Mulraney on the right flank.
DM Santiago Sosa 6: Sosa was less influential Saturday than he’s been for the majority of the season so far, but he did his job well and gave the team solidity and control in midfield.
CM Emerson Hyndman 7: Missed a sitter late in the first half that nearly lead to a goal for Chicago on the other end. Other than that crucial miscue, Hyndman was lively and looking to get in the box, which manifested in him sealing the game late.
CM Ezequiel Barco 8 (Man of the Match): Barco scored what could end up being nominated for goal of the season with his incredible strike in the 23rd minute. Barco was a threat in transition and overall was the spark for Atlanta United’s attack.
LW Marcelino Moreno 5: I don’t know if it’s just me but he looks like he’s still finding his footing as a winger in this system. He did well throughout the game to help Atlanta keep possession and allow the team to move upfield, but not as threatening in 1v1 situations as you’d hope. Still early in the season with lots of time to refine his game and his connection with his attacking teammates.
RW Jake Mulraney 5: Mulraney didn’t offer much other than as an outlet in wide areas. Misjudged a cross that could’ve resulted in a chance in the first half and picked up an early yellow card. Missed a golden chance that could’ve iced the game around the 70th minute. He worked hard for the team though and did a bunch of selfless running, and set up Hyndman at the end with an absolutely insane dribble in the box
ST Lisandro Lopez 4: Similar to the opener against Orlando, Lopez struggled to get involved in the game much, and when he did he was dropping very deep. He often took up positions that were more in midfield, while the team relied on Barco and the wingers to bring the pace.
SUB Jack Gurr 6: It was technically Gurr’s man in Stojanovic who scored Chicago’s goal in the 46th minute, but it’s hard to fault Gurr when the ball could’ve and should’ve been cleared by either of the two center backs in front of him. It was a solid MLS debut for a kid from Georgia Gwinnett College — a remarkable story.
SUB Josef Martinez 7: Nearly capitalized on a Chicago mistake with a goal. Sprayed a nice ball to Barco on the wing that lead to a clear cut chance. But overall, the team looked more dangerous and threatening in the box when he was on the field.
SUB Juergen Damm 7: Damm made a major impact late in the game, able to get to the end line and set up chances on numerous occasions. Showed great composure in those spots to pick out the right pass.
SUB Franco Ibarra N/A