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Recap: Missed chances, questionable calls haunt Atlanta United in tough loss to Inter Miami

The signs are good but the result wasn’t.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Inter Miami CF Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United dropped a tough 2-1 result away to Inter Miami on Sunday afternoon. Despite controlling the match and playing some really attractive soccer, the visitors fell victim to some well-executed counter-attacks and walked away empty handed. The loss drops the Five Stripes to 3-3-2 on the season with just 10 goals scored in eight matches.

Starting Lineups

What Happened

Gonzalo Pineda’s side got off to a fast start in South Florida, piling on pressure from the opening kickoff. After some sustained pressure and a few half-chances, Ronaldo Cisneros notched his first goal as an Atlanta United player to open the scoring 13 minutes into the match. The striker showed off his poacher instincts by picking up a loose ball from a corner kick and slamming a shot into the back of the net to open his MLS account.

The Five Stripes enjoyed the majority of possession and chances throughout the opening 45 minutes but the hosts looked dangerous on the counter-attack. That threat materialized near the half-hour mark as the red-hot Leandro Campana scored his fifth goal of the season to bring the match level. The Ecuadorian No. 9 took down a high ball in the attacking area with expertise and slotted home a perfect finish past Bobby Shuttleworth.

Atlanta continued to dominate the match after the set back, particularly enjoying success down the left flank with Andrew Gutman and Caleb Wiley. Despite creating a handful of good chances they were unable to break the deadlock going into the dressing room.

The trend continued on into the second half with the visitors dominating the ball around the Miami 18-yard box but unable to find a second goal. Their inability to produce an end product would once again prove costly as the Herons hit on the counter for a second time. Taking advantage of a George Campbell turnover, they capitalized on the young defender’s lack of awareness and scored a tap-in goal as Campana found Bryce Duke for a tap-in to make it 2-1 in the 62nd minute.

The biggest point of contention came 15 minutes from full-time as Brooks Lennon beat his man in the box and appeared to be tripped up by Noah Allen. Referee Jair Marrufo deemed the incident not worthy of a whistle. The VAR intervened and recommended Marrufo take a second look at the contact. After consulting the monitor he decided to stick with his initial call, leaving Atlanta empty handed.

Inter Miami packed it in for the remainder of the match and did a great job frustrating the desperate Five Stripes, picking up the win over their northern foes at home.

Quick Thoughts

  • This is a tough pill to swallow for Atlanta fans as the team looked brilliant in almost every aspect on the day. They played with great energy and intensity. The build-up play and off-the-ball movement was sublime. Unfortunately there just wasn’t much in the way of final product other than Cisneros’ fortunate goal off a fluke bounce.
  • There’s no doubt that Atlanta United and their supporters will feel hard done by the official in this one. There were two separate incidents that could’ve possibly earned them a penalty kick denied by the referee. Very tough to take on such a bright performance overall.
  • Losing in that fashion is never easy to deal with. However, you have to be encouraged with the way the team played on the day. It’s continuing to be a lethargic process, but the signs are beginning to show that this team understands the philosophy. It’s just a matter of polishing it up and getting some goals.