Atlanta United defeated Los Angeles Galaxy 3-0 Saturday afternoon in front of a record crowd. The Five Stripes will get a short break as they will face Orlando Tuesday night in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal. But before Tuesday’s match, here are my three thoughts on Saturday’s win:
A win is a win
The Galaxy played without three of their key players, they scored two own goals in the first half and then they committed a foul in the 18-yard box that led to a goal by Josef Martinez. Some people will look back at the match and talk about how maybe Atlanta got a bit lucky, but honestly, that’s not Atlanta’s problem. At the end of the day, the match was played between 11 players on each team, and the Five Stripes outperformed the Galaxy in 90 minutes. The way Atlanta played, they looked a bit like their 2018 version and what was even better to watch was the connection Ezequiel Barco, Pity Martinez and Josef were having on the pitch. With only one-third left of the regular season, every point becomes important and with Atlanta in the hunt to finish in the first place of the Eastern Conference, this was a great start for August.
Good decision to rotate players
Saturday we saw Jeff Larentowicz start over Eric Remedi and then we saw players such as Barco and Darlington Nagbe get subbed out halfway through the second half. When asked about it in the postgame, manager Frank De Boer said that he made those decisions based on the upcoming matchup against Orlando Tuesday. While the match against the Galaxy was important, I applaud De Boer for deciding to rotate the players, especially with United facing five matches, with two of those including a U.S. Open Cup semifinal and Campeones Cup, in a span of 15 days.
The fans were spectacular like always
If you do a quick google search for MLS attendance, you’ll find that Atlanta United owns the top eight spots and after Saturday’s match, they now own the top nine highest attended soccer matches in MLS history. A total of 72, 548 fans made their way to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and they also had the opportunity to participate in a stadium-wide tifo which consisted of red, gold and black tinfoil that spelled out “Forever United” in each side of the stadium. I can’t stress enough on how strong the support for the team has been since day one, and hopefully, that support will never cease. Good job, 17’s!