Robyn Saghini - Atlanta United FC/mlsfemale
Official Atlanta United Reporter

By Robyn Saghini // @robynsaghini

Saturday, April 21: 0-2 Win


Coming off what coach Tata Martino called Atlanta United‘s best home game to date, a 2-2 draw vs NYCFC (see Keira Smith’s Rise Up, NYCFC article for a recap, since I didn’t have time last week), the team flew out to Los Angeles for the first time to take on Zlatan Ibrahimovic and 10 other guys who are not Zlatan.

ATL UTD’s objective for this game was to keep Zlatan from getting the ball in LA Galaxy‘s attacking third to prevent him and/or the not-Zlatans from getting any scoring opportunities. It seems their plan worked since the Galaxy were kept to only eight shots, only one of which was on target. Zlatan had zero shots.

[Note: Sorry, not sorry for all the Zlatan references. J. Sam Jones from Dirty South Soccer had me cracking up when he was live tweeting the game Saturday night. See below.]

This game was also the first start for Atlanta’s shiny new toy, Ezequiel Barco, who came in as a sub vs NYCFC last week. He was incredible, too. I think once he gets a few more games under his belt to really get in sync with the rest of the team, no one will know what hit them.

The whole team played incredibly well together, though. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez managed to not get carded in a road game, Darlington Nagbe and Julian Gressel were blowing by LA’s defense, and Chris McCann now has Zlatan in his pocket.

Atlanta has now outscored all MLS teams from Atlanta 11-0 in three games over two seasons. It could have been 12-0 if Josef Martinez hadn’t hit the post on his PK attempt (it may have been deflected by David Bingham, but I couldn’t tell from the replay). Fortunately, he made up for that a few minutes later when Gressel lobbed in a ball that hit the crossbar and Martinez defeated a couple of LA defenders to push the ball over the line.

Atlanta United is now one point behind NYCFC in the East and one point behind NYCFC and Sporting Kansas City (tied for first) in the Supporters Shield table. Josef Martinez is by himself at the top of the Golden Boot race and Brad Guzan has the most clean sheets (3).

In ATL UTD 2 news, the boys drew 1-1 against defending USL champs Louisville City FC on Saturday, bringing their record to 1-0-3. Andrew Carleton started for the first time in an Atlanta kit and missed one PK opportunity, but was given a second PK late in the game and converted that one.

On Tuesday night, the boys suffered their first defeat at the hands of the Charleston Battery, 0-3. Two of Charleston’s goals were scored by Gordon Wild, one of ATL UTD’s SuperDraft picks, who is on loan to Charleston this year.

This Saturday, Atlanta hosts the Montreal Impact in an early game (1pm ET) at the Benz. While I’m looking forward to the game, what I’m really excited about is the brunch tailgate before the game! 😉 Watch my IG story (@robynsaghini) for pics during the day.

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