It took all of 23 minutes for Atlanta United inflict a little “get back” defeating the New York City Football Club 3-1 at Bobby Dodd Stadium Sunday afternoon. United fans braved the blistering temperatures and were treated to an exciting match.
Hector Villalba and Miguel Almiron found the net three times in 7 minutes beneath the scorching hot Atlanta sun. The hot-shooting Almiron followed up his hat trick last week against Houston with bookend goals.
The five stripes first goal could have gone to any one of three streaking strikers. Yamil Asad, Villalba, and Almiron were each positioned to finish the break. Gressel chose Almiron in the center of the trio and the fresh-faced midfielder delivered with a blast to the right under the outstretched arm of New York goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Three minutes later, Asad delivered a pass to Villalba on the run down the left side. The forward from Argentina ended a four-game dry spell by rocketing the ball past Johnson and inside the far right post for a 2-0 lead.
Before New York could attempt to answer the score, the tandem of Gressel and Almiron were back for more. This time the young German had to poke the ball away from NY defender Alexander Callens with a crafty left foot and step around to get free. Beating Callens, forced Johnson to honor Gressel’s approach to the right post opening up the goal for Almiron on an all out run through the center of the box. NYFC defender Maxime Chanot tried but was too late to stop the left foot of Almiron from burying the ball in the back of the net.
Defense played a big part in the win. United allowed New York only two shots at the goal in the first half. Alec Kann made a terrific dive to knock away a well-delivered ball from David Villa in the 36′. The second was a relatively routine save.
Atlanta kept the defensive pressure on frustrating New York at the start of the second half. “We did a very good job of taking their life out of them,” said midfielder Julian Gressel.
Outside of a single lapse in pressure that allowed Jack Harrison a score in the 70′, United kept close tabs on all balls played in their half of the field. Shots from Callens, Ben Sweat, and Chanot were all turned away by the swarming United defense.
It’s back to the road and hotel food for the red and black over the next two weeks. They return to Bobby Dodd on June 17 to play the Columbus Crew. Tickets may still be available but you may want to secure your seat now.
all photos by Jake McDonald, CORE360 Sports