Atlanta United got off to a winning start in Major League Soccer play on Sunday, winning 3-1 in their season opener at the Mercedes-Benz stadium on Sunday against Sporting Kansas City.
#ATLUTD's Starting XI for the first match of the 2022 @MLS season pic.twitter.com/XGbkkqmXRx— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) February 27, 2022
Luiz Araújo scored the first goal in the 19th minute after Tyler Wolff pounced on a giveaway and quickly passed the ball to Josef. The Venezuelan then flicked the ball into Araújo’s path and showed us why he’s one of the the most exciting players to watch in the league this season.
Martínez to Araújo— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) February 27, 2022
First goal of the 2022 @MLS season goes to No. 19! pic.twitter.com/CXMwKv4i2c
Unfortunately, the jubilation quickly dissipated, and Luiz Araujo had to be subbed off the field just minutes later. Dom Dwyer, donning the number four on his back, stepped onto the field in the 26th minute as his replacement.
Gonzalo Pineda said there is no update on Luiz Araújo’s status, but said it was a hamstring issue.
Once Araújo stepped off the field, Atlanta struggled to adjust and had to settle for absorbing Sporting Kansas City pressure and hitting on the counter. That plan paid off in first half of stoppage time when Dom Dwyer wrote his name into Atlanta United lore and made a defender retire at the same time.
@DDwyer14 pic.twitter.com/ubKwMdNqcS— Atlanta United Fútbol Club (@VamosATLUTD) February 27, 2022
¡¡DIOS MÍO!! pic.twitter.com/gIaRonCgKf— Atlanta United Fútbol Club (@VamosATLUTD) February 27, 2022
Dios mío indeed. Dom Dwyer scoring for Atlanta United isn’t something I thought I would ever see in my lifetime. For Dwyer personally, it was a big moment. He hadn't scored since 2019.
As the game was winding down late in the second half, Dániel Sallói got on the end of a corner kick and put the ball past Brad Guzan with five minutes remaining.
DS20 opens his 2022 account.#SportingKC pic.twitter.com/55RAsQtZcK— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) February 27, 2022
Caleb Wiley, who came on as a substitute in the 75th minute, left no room for doubt and scored on his MLS debut to secure all three points for the Five Stripes.
HE'S ONE OF OUR OWN ⚫️— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) February 27, 2022
Caleb Wiley scores on his debut in front of @MBStadium❕ pic.twitter.com/zaE4ReMaec
With that goal, the 17-year-old got his MLS career off to a fantastic start and had some advice for other young players in the academy:
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t be who you wanna be. Just go out there and do you. Believe in yourself and you’ll achieve it. “
Dream debut for Caleb Wiley ✨ pic.twitter.com/PHitWDz22w— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) February 27, 2022
- For the first time in a long time, there was a buzz around the stadium (at least in my opinion). With an announced attendance of 67,523, there was a different feeling in the building compared to last season. Maybe it’s the fact that Josef is coming into this season healthy for the first time in a long time, or the fact that Luiz Araújo is with the team from the jump as opposed to joining halfway through the season. It could be the addition of Thiago Almada or any other number of factors. Whatever it was, you could feel it and it was fun.
- Gutman was good on both sides of the ball against SKC, but particularly on the defensive side of the ball. While we here at DSS love George Bello and wish him nothing but the best in the future, Andrew Gutman shone today and showed everyone his quality. Personally, I think Gutman is an upgrade at that left back spot. Like Ozzie Alonso, he adds a bit of grit into a team that has lacked that quality in recent times.
@ATLUTD's Gutman closes down the angle on this shot ♂️ pic.twitter.com/j8nK2vtVoO— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) February 27, 2022
¡GRAN PARTIDO!— Atlanta United Fútbol Club (@VamosATLUTD) February 27, 2022
¡Nuestro jugador del partido es @_andrewgutman_! pic.twitter.com/H5x2DBymUi
- Josef wasn’t the only player that was a threat to the Sporting KC, and that’s also something that we haven’t seen in recent times. Before Araújo had to be subbed off with an injury, he was obviously attracting a lot of attention from the SKC backline. As Dom Dwyer showed, he may have a few goals left in him to contribute to Atlanta United. Despite not scoring, Josef got two assists on the day. Contrary to what Atlanta United has shown over the last couple of seasons, spreading the goalscoring responsibility throughout the team is probably a good idea.
- Speaking of spreading the goalscoring responsibility throughout the team, Luiz Araújo’s injury is worrisome. There is no need for takes or overreacting at this time due to the lack of information we have about the injury itself. However, Araújo is a talented unicorn who brings something no one else can bring to this team and a long-term absence would present a few problems to Pineda and Atlanta United.
Atlanta United will travel to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park to play the Colorado Rapids on Saturday at 6 p.m.