José Guillermo Ortiz, CS Herediano shock Atlanta United 3-1

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Heredia, Costa Rica (February 21, 2019) – What a week it’s been for Panamanian and Costa Rican clubs in CONCACAF Champions League. In a stunning result Thursday night, CS Herediano defeated MLS Cup Champion Atlanta United FC 3-1.

José Guillermo Ortiz, CS Herediano shock Atlanta United 3-1

Atlanta looked clearly to be in preseason shape in the first half. Just seven minutes in, a back pass header by Leonardo Gonzalez Pirez was slightly off to goalkeeper Brad Guzan. Guzan didn’t come off his line to get the ball and José Guillermo Ortiz ran onto it to score.

In the 34th minute, Atlanta was caught way up field as Herediano looked to counter attack. Ortiz drew two of the last three players towards him near midfield, then sent a through ball to unleash Randall Azofeifa on a break away. He ran in and slotted the ball into the bottom corner.

The Five Stripes appeared to pull one back just minutes later on a set piece. Pirez scored from close range but the ball bounced off Jeff Larentowicz from an off-sides position in the sequence the goal was disallowed.

Atlanta did get on the score sheet in the 41st minute when a shot by Julian Gressel was deflected in front of goal and in. The half ended 2-1.

Herediano asserted themselves to open the half, scoring the 50th minute. On a set piece, Azofeifa floated a ball perfectly to the back post where only Esteban Granados could get to it. He volleyed it first time to make it 3-1.

Three Big Thoughts:

Poor start gets Atlanta behind: Atlanta did not start the game well, giving up two goals in almost the first 30 minutes. Adjustments didn’t start until the second half. This team clearly looked to be in preseason while Herediano meant business from the opening whistle at home.

Star offensive players: This game was all about the big offensive players. Josef Martinez struggled to get service and create for himself in this game. Ezequiel Barco and Gonzalo Martinez had quiet nights and dribbled into trouble more than once. This team missed Miguel Almiron. On the other side, Ortiz and Azofeifa were fantastic in key moments. Ortiz pressed the back line and held the ball up. Azofeifa did well to get forward and provided key service on set pieces.

Set pieces: Speaking of set pieces, both teams had uncontested chances on set pieces. Herediano converted on theirs and Atlanta were unlucky to not score on theirs. Both defenses were caught off-guard. Look for both sides to improve on that in the second leg.

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