Atlanta United’s stellar form coming out of the Leagues Cup break ended on Wednesday when it fell 2-1 to FC Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The loss punched the visitors’ ticket to the playoffs and brought the Five Stripes to a screeching halt. Atlanta stays sixth in the East, but now finds itself five points behind 2nd place New England and three points behind third-place Orlando.
Atlanta United rolled out the same starting XI for the third consecutive match. Edwin Mosquera was again given the start over Saba Lobjanidze who may get his first start against FC Dallas on Saturday. The only change is the coach on the touchline. Assistant Diego De La Torre was handed the reigns for this game while Gonzalo Pineda serves his one-match touchline ban due to yellow card accumulation. He will return when the team goes to Dallas over the weekend.
The night started brightly for the Five Stripes as Xande Silva brought down a cross at the back post with impressive skill before delivering a perfect cross to Edwin Mosquera who volleyed it past Roman Celentano to mark the first of the evening. The goal is the Colombian’s first professional goal.
The visitors began to take control of the game late in the first half, but Atlanta repelled their threats. Luis Abram in particular had a few very important blocks in the defensive third.
The second half saw a very even contest with Atlanta nearly doubling its lead, but Silva’s fantastic strike was disallowed due to a foul in the build-up.
The pressure ultimately gave way in the 75th minute when Lucho Acosta equalized with a well-placed shot from the top of the box. The goal was Acosta’s 13th of the season, drawing him level with Hany Mukhtar at the top of the Golden Boot race.
The visitors pulled ahead in the 80th minute when former Atlanta United player Brandon Vazquez tapped home a whipped cross in front of goal. With his fifth goal of the season, the USMNT striker gave Cincinnati a 2-1 lead.
There would be no triumphant finale for the Five Stripes in this game as the final whistle blew to sound an Atlanta United defeat.
A game that started off strongly devolved into chaos which the visitors exploited to take all three points from the Benz.
Atlanta United returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 2 when it travels to face FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m.
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