A few tactical adjustments went according to plan on Sunday as Atlanta United fought to a dominant 2-0 win against visiting Philadelphia Union at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The win boosts Atlanta’s point total to 32 in 21 games and an 8-8-5 record, leaving it 6th in the East.
Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda hinted at some changes during training last week, and boy did we get changes. Andrew Gutman started on the bench with Ronald Hernandez starting as a right center back in a back three. Caleb Wiley and Brooks Lennon were deployed as wingbacks and Machop Chol began the game as a sort of inside forward.
Here’s how the 5-Stripes will start vs. Philly ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/bQm8uxpnb5— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) July 2, 2023
Philadelphia didn’t come out the gate pressing as high as expected, which allowed Atlanta United to play its game a little easier. The new formation also seemed to be causing the Union several headaches with quick counterattacks in which the team was able to create overloads and get into the box much easier.
After a penalty for Atlanta was overturned and a free kick awarded instead, Thiago Almada was the man charged with taking the set piece. His initial shot was blocked by the wall, but he got the rebound and put it in the back of the net with an absolute rocket of a shot.
There's no stopping t̶h̶a̶t̶ HIM pic.twitter.com/W1qJFM8Uv0— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) July 2, 2023
The goal was Almada’s 8th of the season and the sixth he’s scored from outside the box.
The Five Stripes were firing on all cylinders and creating chance after chance for a good part of the first half. Just as it seemed that everything would be going Atlanta’s way, Giorgos Giakoumakis went down with a non-contact injury in the 30th minute and had to be replaced by Miguel Berry.
The scoreline would remain unchanged until the 79th minute when Brooks Lennon nutmegged Philadelphia goalkeeper Joe Bendik with a fantastic strike to double the lead. With time running out, Atlanta now held a two-goal lead.
Brooks Lennon joins in on the party pic.twitter.com/uySW2nzioN— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) July 2, 2023
The visitors pushed for a way back into the match but never found one as the Five Stripes earned their third shutout of the season and did so against one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta United will be back in action on Saturday, July 18 when it visits Montreal.
What did you think of the match? Let us know in the comments below!