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Atlanta- Minnesota United FC (9-16-5) became the first team in 13 games to defeat the Atlanta United FC (15-8-8) at home and in Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Atlanta United came in to Tuesday night’s game wounded and shorthanded. Striker Joseph Martinez and goal keeper Brad Guzan were called on assignment for international play while big injuries to forward Brandon Vazquez and defender Greg Garza (both out 4-6 weeks for hamstring injuries) are out.
This game was very important for Atlanta to win with the possibilities of gaining second place in the Eastern Conference over the New York City FC. They trailed New York by three points coming into the contest. “That’s all we have to play for, we want to be second obviously today would have been nice to get and be in that place,” stated Julian Gressel,
It was a very physical match from the start with injuries, fighting, scrapping and more. There was no type of rhythm by both teams with each squad struggling to gain continuity.
Minnesota came out attacking and capitalized on a straight-on goal by Abu Danladi just over the out stretch hands of goal keeper Kyle Reynishin the 48th minute. It was assisted by Kevin Molino.
In the 60th minute, a controversial play caused questioning from the players and the home crowd at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
Minnesota had a breakaway from a pass and Reynish met Danladi with a tackle that stopped the momentum. After Danladi stayed on the ground for a while the referee decided to review the play resulting in a red card for Reynish.
Atlanta seemed fired up as the next two minutes, they forced the issue and kept attacking until Hector “Tito” Villalba kicked a straight end goal from 20 feet out through a defender’s leg past goal keeper Bobby Shuttleworth in the 67th minute..
That goal woke up Atlanta as they kept the pressure and took advantage of a two on one. Yamil Asad set up Gressel with a beautiful pass by the defender and Gressel was able to kick a high shot in the far corner of the net in the 72nd minute.
Minnesota wouldn’t lay down. After a corner kick, Christian Ramirez tapped a goal in off the back of his leg past goal keeper Alex Tambakis in the 90th minute. It was assisted by Sam Nicholson and Collen Warner.
With seven minutes of stoppage time, Molino scored off a header past Tambakis for the game winner.
Atlanta United has a week and a half off of rest before their next game against New York Red Bulls.