Well that was something else. The inaugural American Family Insurance Cup™ friendly against Pachuca was a fun, chaotic affair Tuesday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium that saw Atlanta United beat Pachuca 3-2 thanks to Dom Dwyer’s winning goal in the second half.
Atlanta got off to a rip-roaring start, Josef Martinez opened the scoring in the 5th minute and Luiz Araujo doubled the host’s lead just minutes later and Atlanta United seemed to be cruising.
But Pachuca answered with a goal off a corner (of course) and then followed it up with an equalizer created from their pressure on a simple build-up phase from Atlanta.
The second half was full of changes for both teams that included young players for both sides. Dom Dwyer scored what turned out to be the winner against some dynamite defending by Pachuca.
As a change of pace, we’re going to analyze the noteworthy performers with a quick game of Stock Up, Stock Down. Please give us your own opinions in the comments!
Emerson Hyndman - Hyndman has now surpassed a full year since his ACL injury last year, and in the start, he looked very positive. Moved the ball quickly and accurately in midfield and seems like a first choice option for Gonzalo Pineda after playing a full 45 minutes.
Rocco Rios Novo - Yes, he conceded some goals, but it’s hard to fault him for either in the first half and he stopped a couple good shots from Pachuca. COmposed on the ball, unafraid with opponents closing down the space.
Marcelino Moreno - Not that anyone was expecting much less from Moreno, but the Argentine combined well with Josef and was generally a threat. I think the break did him some good, and he looked to have a bit of a spring in his step after gutting through some injuries to start the season.
Luiz Araujo - Saw the back of the net and looked a threat throughout the first half. Again, probably about what we expected, but good it was a solid confidence-building performance.
George Campbell - Pretty clear to see the upgrade that Campbell provides over Alex De John, especially in buildup.
Franco Ibarra - Rough one for Ibarra, who was beaten on the corner and dispossesed pretty dreadfully that allowed the first half equalizer.
Josef Martinez - Maybe this is a terrible name for this little game we’re playing because it’s not like Josef will be anywhere but the starting XI in the league. And he did score to be fair to him, but I think he’d tell you that he should’ve scored at least twice. Basically I’m just trying to think of at least one other player to put in this section, and he’s the unlucky one.
Overall it was an encouraging performance, specifically just looking at the first half. Against a strong Pachuca team, anything was possible and despite the half ending in a draw, Atlanta created more, better chances.