Atlanta United Football Club returns to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on the back of a 1-0 victory against Minnesota United in a match that saw the 5 Stripes parking the bus and defending their lead. Yes, it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing for the casual fan; however, many believe Atlanta United needed to win this kind of game to to prove critics wrong. Most pundits say Atlanta is a fast-starting team that routinely cruises to victory and cannot win the tough matches. That was not lost on the mind of Tata Martino.
“I also don’t want to undermine the effort that the guys put in tonight because I wouldn’t be doing justice to the team,” said Tata Martino, Atlanta United Head Coach. “We don’t only want to win when we’re able to play well. It’s great if we’re able to play well and win, but we also know we need to be able to get results.”
Atlanta scored in the third minute on a goal that was originally credited to Tito Villalba, however, it was corrected to be an own goal by Minnesota’s Francisco Calvo. After defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was shown his second yellow card in the 38th minute, Atlanta was down to ten men.
At that moment, Martino made sure Atlanta defended with eight behind the ball, leaving Josef Martinez as the main counter-attacking option. Meanwhile, . Minnesota outshot Atlanta 13-5, dominated the possession stat 71-29 and were the more accurate passing team. However, Brad Guzan made key saves in the 68th minute and Atlanta made sure the one goal lead stood up.
“I think it was a sense of determination, togetherness, fight and spirit. It wasn’t pretty. We’re not going to sit here and kid ourselves,” Guzan said. “It wasn’t pretty at all. Even before the red card, we were under pressure. So to come away with three points is massive.”
Atlanta United now has nine points on the season and their next match is Saturday against Los Angeles Football Club at 5:00pm eastern time. The contest will be televised on ESPN.