Atlanta United FC
Starters: Brad Guzan, Brooks Lennon, Miles Robinson, Franco Ibarra (Osvaldo Alonso 84'), Andrew Gutman, Juan Jose Purata, Caleb Wiley (Machop Chol 84'), Derrick Etienne Jr. (Tyler Wolff 62'), Thiago Almada, Jay Fortune (Amar Sejdic 72'), Giorgos Giakoumakis (Miguel Berry 84')
Unused Subs: Quentin Westberg, Ronald Hernandez, Luis Abram, Luis Araujo
Starter: Tyler Miller, Pedro Santos (Kristian Fletcher 83'), Steven Birnbaum, Donovan Pines, Victor Pálsson, Jacob Greene (Cristian Dájome 65'), Chris Durkin, Lewis O'Brien, Mateusz Klich, Taxi Fountas, Christian Benteke
Subs: Alex Bono, Derrick Williams, Brendan Hines-Ike, Russell Canouse, Erik Hurtado, Gaoussou Samaké
First Half: It had to happen sometime, and going against a goal scorer as prolific as Giorgos Giakoumakis, it only makes sense that Tyler Miller would get caught out of goal playing Sweeper Keeper and be scored upon in Atlanta. The first ten minutes saw the two teams playing rather evenly, with Taxi Fountas getting a golden opportunity on goal that Guzman was able to just kick save, but the Five Stripes opened the scoring when Tyler Miller came out to claim a long ball over the top, but was beaten to it and punished by Giakoumakis who calmly placed it perfectly in the net to put Atlanta ahead in the 13th minute. It was a crazy angle and not an easy shot, but it definitely was within the skill set Giakoumakis has demonstrated this season.
Miller’s playing style is a risk but one that Head Coach Rooney encourages. He’s said in the past that there would be a time where he would be caught out by playing Sweeper-Keeper, but when one considers how many plays were disrupted in comparison it was worth it. It would also take a world class shot to take advantage, unfortunately Giakoumakis was able to make such a shot.
The goal seemed to boost Atlanta’s confidence and the Five Stripes started to exert more pressure on DC as they pushed for a second. Then off an Atlanta corner kick, DC looked to counter attack, it looked like it was going to be snuffed out by an Atlanta defender, but Durkin dispossessed Thiago Almada and passed the ball perfectly to Taxi Fountas who dribbled forty meters and into a one-on-one against Brad Guzan who he easily beat to level the game. The two teams were tied at one 27 minutes in.
The two teams entered the break with a draw.
Second Half: Unfortunately DC United were not able to contain Thiago Almada in the second half of play. The young Argentinian playmaker did just that when he played a perfectly weighted through ball into the box for a cutting Andrew Gutman who scored a really well placed shot past Miller to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead. Miller looked like he thought Gutman would cross the ball and left the near post open. Gutman took advantage with a strong shot that Miller got a hand to but couldn't keep out of the net.
Things would get worse for the Black & Red in the 73rd minute when Tyler Wolff buried a well placed cross from Gutman came across the face of the goal. Initially the goal was disallowed due to an offside, but a VAR check overturned the original decision and saw Atlanta United take a 3-1 lead.
DC would continue to show its grit and tried to come back. Mateusz Klich would attempt a shot from the right side of the box after a well organized buildup, but the shot was blocked. Later Chris Durkin would take a promising shot from just outside the box after receiving a headed pass from Christian Benteke, but missed just to the left. It was just that type of night.
Despite the Black & Red’s best efforts the match ended in an easy 3-1 victory for the Five Stripes.
Notes From the couch :
Miller missed the ball coming out
Damn! Giakoumakis scored his 10th goal of the season from a really difficult angle
Pedro Santos’ is having a hard time with former teammate Derrick Etienne Jr.
Atlanta’s attack is looking like it did earlier this season
Breakaway for Taxi!
Even at the half. DC needs to tighten the defense
Greene isn’t having a good game, Andrew Gutman is having a field day against him
Gutman just made Miller look average
Missing Canouse tonight and Najar
United can’t seem to handle Atlanta’s overloads
Miller should have done better with Gutman’s shot
After doing a pretty good job in the first half containing Thiago Almada he’s shown up in the second half
DC’s midfield isn’t dominating as they should
Come on! That has to be offside
VAR doesn’t save DC
Kristian Fletcher replaces Pedro Santos
DC United are too eager and fall into a number of offside traps
Words from the Gaffer:
Wayne Rooney: “I think he’s [Tyler Miller] been brilliant all season, and he knows as well as anyone that he made a couple of mistakes which cost two goals.”
Player Ratings (FotMob):
Tyler Miller 2.8
Victor Pálsson 6.2
Steve Birnbaum 5.7
Donovan Pines 6.1
Jacob Greene 5.9
Pedro Santos 6.1
Chris Durkin 7.9
Lewis O’Brien 7.4
Mateusz Klich 6.2
Taxi Fuentas. 7.6
Christian Benteke 7.0
Christen Dajome 6.2
Kristen Fletcher NA
Next Match: DC United returns home to face Real Salt Lake on June 17 at 7:30 pm ET.
Written by: RJ Rolsen