ATLANTA, GA (September 10, 2017) – FC Dallas were the first team to visit the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta this Sunday. Hopes of earning their first victory in 7 games were crushed quickly as Atlanta United FC were firing on all cylinders. A 3-0 thrashing by Atlanta will send Dallas home wondering what it will take to turn their season around.
FC Dallas Woes Continue With Humiliation in Atlanta
Atlanta came out fast and furious, nearly earning a penalty within the first ten minutes. But it didn’t take too much longer, as Atlanta found the back of the net in the 14th minute. Miguel Almiron whipped in a corner taken short, and found Leandro Gonzalez Pirez at the back post for an easy tap in.
Second Half Disaster for Dallas
For Dallas, the first half thankfully ended 1-0 and couldn’t have come sooner. But it only took 30 seconds into the second half for Atlanta to double the lead. Again, the Dallas defense just seemed all out of sorts and never looked ready. Walker Zimmerman tried to dribble out of the back but had a heavy touch, and lost the ball in the Dallas half. With no one behind him, Atlanta came flying down the left side, forcing Matt Hedges across the field. Almiron took a few quick touches, and megged Hedges as his perfectly weighted pass found Josef Martinez for another tap in.
The game could have easily ended 6 or 7-0. Dallas keeper Jesse Gonzalez found himself busy, making nine saves on the day, but it wasn’t enough. Atlanta found the back of the net one more time. In the 67th minute, Atlanta worked the ball left to right, finding Hector Villalba on the right wing. He drove in a ball to the top of the six, where Josef Martinez deftly dummied the ball through his legs. Dallas native Greg Garza made a well-timed run through the box, and found himself tapping in Atlanta’s third of the day.
Ending Notes and Wishful Thinking
Chants of “tres a cero” quickly echoed throughout the stadium late in the game. Dallas were left waiting for the final whistle before any more damage could be done. Three substitutions were made by Dallas, but there was no real change to be seen in their play. Barring any setbacks due to hurricane Irma, Dallas will be thankful to return home as quickly as possible.
Dallas had moments that looked promising, but they were few and far between. Atlanta were by far the better team Sunday – pressing high up the field, winning first and second balls in the air, and working quick on the attack. Dallas reminded me of a team playing their third game of three in a weekend tournament. There was no urgency with anything, and too many times players were caught in possession. The new turf can certainly be used as an excuse, but it won’t change anything now.
FC Dallas return home with Seattle in the wake. September will not be kind to any team in MLS, as the regular season quickly winds down to a close. Atlanta United will look to ride this wave of energy, as they play host to their next five matches.
Dallas really needed three points today to make a statement, but we’ve been saying this for weeks. The hard-fought point last week had us wondering if this was the turning point for the club. One season after winning the U.S. Open Cup-Supporters’ Shield double, we’re now left wondering if Dallas will even make the playoffs.