The curse is broken. You read that right, the curse is finally broken after seven long years. With Saturday’s 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls, Atlanta United have finally put one in the win column of their all-time series against the Empire State club.
The starting lineup mostly returned to what the team had been playing before last week’s match at Columbus with a couple of changes: Caleb Wiley dropped back to play at left back in place of recently-injured Andrew Gutman and Derrick Etienne Jr., who was handed his first start of the season, took on the duties of left winger.
The Red Bulls came out swinging with their usual high-energy press that caused some problems for Atlanta early on. As Gonzalo Pineda and the players discussed throughout the week, their plan was to play through the press. After a few minutes, the Five Stripes started breaking through with some good opportunities including the opening goal which came as a result of a long ball to Etienne who found Almada at the top of the box. The Argentine took a shot that bounced off New York goalkeeper Carlos Coronel and Giorgios Giakoumakis put in the rebound to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead seven minutes in.
Atlanta, get used to seeing THIS ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/uUR8uPN7yD— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) April 1, 2023
The two sides continued playing an intense back-and-forth game for the remainder of the first half with much physical play and six yellow cards before halftime. Neither side was able to impact the scoreline before the break, though, and the first half ended with the Five Stripes holding a narrow lead.
The second half was more of the same, though Atlanta United seemed to run into more brick walls. The Red Bulls continued to press high and Atlanta kept trying to play through it with quick and flashy passes that didn’t necessarily make a whole lot of sense. Almada in particular had a very poor game with several giveaways in the middle and defensive thirds that Red Bulls inexplicably were unable to capitalize from.
Ultimately, the Five Stripes were able to hold onto their lead despite the very stress-inducing finale to come away with three points. This puts Atlanta at 13 points in six games and a 4-1-1 record.
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