One of Atlanta United’s best performances in a while didn’t go entirely their way as they were forced to share points with Toronto FC following a 1-1 draw.
Atlanta United’s lineup was very similar to the one used in the season opener against San Jose with just one change: Miguel Berry was given the start ahead of Jackson Conway. Waiting on the bench to enter in the second half were Luis Abram, Derrick Etienne Jr. and new Designated Player Giorgos Giakoumakis.
The first half saw what was probably one of the team’s best performances in the past year. Atlanta was totally dominant in all aspects of the game. They put up eight shots to Toronto’s one, retained about 69% of the possession and were able to make very good use of it. The Five Stripes’ long switches of play into pacey players like Wiley and Lennon wreaked havoc on the Reds’ defense and opened up several good chances. Atlanta was unable to capitalize, though, and the first half ended in a scoreless draw.
The second half started much like the first: with Atlanta United dominant and knocking on the door early. Shockingly, it was the visitors who found the net first after a run by Federico Bernardeschi in the 52th minute was topped off with a near post shot that beat Brad Guzan. Against the run of play, the Reds pulled ahead with a 1-0 lead.
Atlanta eventually got their due reward in the 60th minute as a long-range shot by Matheus Rossetto took a heavy deflection to beat Sean Johnson in Toronto’s goal. The goal marked the Brazilian midfielder’s first in his MLS career, and drew the Five Stripes level 1-1.
Now with its full attacking talent on the field, Atlanta United kept after the winning goal. Giakoumakis did find the back of the net in the 76th minute, but the goal was disallowed due to a close offside decision.
The hosts would continue to push for a winner, but couldn’t come up with one before the final whistle which meant the match would go down as a 1-1 draw.
Overall, there were many positives to the match. The team created many chances and were very close on several occasions. Credit does have to go to Johnson for making some incredible saves to deny Atlanta on more than one occasion.
Giakoumakis’ debut also gave some things to look forward to. His movement looked good overall and he looks like he can be dangerous in the box. It’s just a matter of Atlanta getting the ball to him.
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