MLS SOCCER

Atlanta United Falls in West Coast Road Trip

Franco Escbar uses his head to advance the ball

Atlanta United lost for the first time in franchise history against the Seattle Sounders in a 2-1 match Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field.

The Five Stripes continued their defensive struggles as they have now allowed 14 goals since returning to action from the international break and have yet to win a road match since a 1-0 win on May 15th.

“I think it was a tight game,” Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer said after Sunday’s defeat. “I think we could be up front; they could be up front. I think a draw at the end was maybe the best result. In sports a lot of times it’s decided by mistakes. They’re human. It’s a pity that it was on our side that we made a mistake and in the end, we conceded a goal.”

The match didn’t start too well for United when Brek Shea suffered a right knee injury at the fourth minute of the first half and was quickly subbed out. With Shea’s injury, he now joins a list with injured players that have already five names in it. And to complicate things, Franco Escobar received a yellow card Sunday afternoon, which means that he will miss Wednesday’s match against the Houston Dynamo.

During the rest of the first half of the match, Seattle had two clear goal scoring opportunities, but Brad Guzan came away with two big saves for the Five Stripes.

In the fifth minute of the second half, it looked like Pity Martinez scored the opening goal of the match as he shot the ball to the bottom right side of Stefan Frei’s goal, but he was ruled offsides in the play. But five minutes later, Seattle’s Raul Ruidiaz scored the first goal of the day at the 50th minute after he chipped the ball over defender Miles Robinson and shot the ball past Guzan.

Seattle’s lead was short-lived when Atlanta striker Josef Martinez scored the equalizer at the 65th minute via a header off a corner kick by Pity Martinez. The goal by Josef is currently the 13th of the MLS season, and this was the fifth consecutive match where he has found the back of the net.

The Sounders scored the game-winner goal six minutes later when Leandro Gonzalez Pirez made a bad pass, and the ball was intercepted by Jordan Morris, who then crossed it over to Harry Shipp. While being all alone in the box, Shipp headed the ball to his opposite side, an area where Guzan had no chance of getting a hand on it.

“When you come on the road it’s difficult, and when you come on to the road to Seattle it’s very difficult,” Guzan said. “We had chances in the first half. When you are on the road, you have to find the back of the net with one of those. You have to punish them when you get those half chances. Having said that, we shot ourselves in the foot. Not good enough in certain areas, you pay the price.”

Atlanta (9-8-3, 30 points) will host the Houston Dynamo Wednesday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

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