Atlanta United gets speared 3-1 by Red Bulls and Refs
ATLANTA — In what was perhaps the most unusual game of the season thus far for The Five Stripes, (due to a fan invading the field during the match) Atlanta United suffered a controversial loss to the New York Red Bulls 3-1 Sunday night. While United did not play as crisp of a game as they would have liked down the stretch, it seemed as if the referee crew continuously made calls in favor of the Red Bulls (7-3-0). In fact, outside of the goalies, the referees had their fingerprints all over this match — and it ultimately led to United (8-3-1) losing a game they very well should have won.
The game seemed promising from the start for United, but here is what went wrong for head coach Tata Martino’s club:
The refs literally blew the game
Several faulty calls shifted the momentum in favor of the Red Bulls during this match with the first call being the most crucial. After Ezequiel Barco scored the game’s first goal in the 26th minute, Josef Martinez scored a goal in the 31st minute to extend his team’s lead to 2-0, at least that is what everyone in attendance and even the referees thought — until they decided to review the goal. Furthermore, the refs overturned the call when they concluded that Martinez committed a foul before breaking the opposing goalie’s ankles and striking the ball through the net. Martino was livid with the call and expressed his frustration with reporters during his post-game press conference.
“The second goal that Josef (Martinez) scored that was called back, I don’t think that’s a foul,” Martino said. I think he’s going down and he’s looking for a foul there. It’s a last-ditch hope that he gets a call. They end up going back and looking at it and deciding that it’s a foul.”
Defender Leandro González Pírez also displayed his frustration with the call after the game.
“The callback on the goal by Josef (Martinez) was stupid because (Tim) Parker ran to one side and Josef ran to the other side, and we passed the ball (to Josef). Then, the (referee) called a foul. That is a foul? That is real? It is stupid. It’s the same. Every single week it is the same. This is the first problem.”
The call was detrimental to Atlanta United’s chances of clasping the Red Bulls by the horns and possibly securing their ninth win of the season. The refs simply sucked the life out of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, as well as the players. After that, another questionable call was made in the 42nd minute that awarded Daniel Royer a penalty kick to even the score at one apiece.
The man with three names scored two goals.
Bradley Wright-Phillips showed why he is a lethal threat when he has control of the ball. The 33-year-old forward from London now has eight goals on the year, and he was the most significant difference maker (outside of the refs) in this match. Atlanta United goalie, Brad Guzan, was well aware of the skillset Wright Phillips possesses.
“Bradley Wright-Phillips is dangerous. He’s proven that year after year. He’s a good player,” Guzan said.
Wright-Phillips scored his first goal in the 51st minute of the game and doubled up with his second score of the game just four minutes later (55′) that pushed the lead to 3-1 and sealed the deal for the Red Bulls.
This loss will surely leave a bitter taste in the mouths of the Atlanta United players and the fans, but the club has 10 days to regroup and turn their focus on their next match on the road against the New England Revolution.
Despite the loss, Atlanta United is still in first place in the Supporters’ Shield standings.
By D’Mitri Chin
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