D.C. United flipped the script Sunday, shaking a slow start en route to defeating Atlanta United 3-1 in front of a sold out Bobby Dodd Stadium.
“This is a very hostile environment,” goalkeeper Bill Hamid told Fox Sports 1 after the game. “It is amazing what they have done to start off their MLS.”
Atlanta’s seamless transition quickly picked apart the sleepy D.C. defense. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid was tested early, making two huge stops for D.C. in the first three minutes. United fans held their breath as Hamid was slow to get up from the second save. He remained in the game, but left the remaining goal kicks to his backline.
D.C. could not hang on for long. In the ninth minute, Greg Garza sprinted toward the left corner flag to save the ball from going out of bounds. Quickly turning, Garza passed to Yamil Asad, who was waiting inside the 18-yard box. Catching D.C.’s Lloyd Sam off balance, Asad crossed an aerial pass toward Kenwyne Jones who finished the play with a header into the back of the net.
It seemed as though United wasn’t going to catch any breaks with Atlanta pressuring high and hard. That was until the 25th minute when Lamar Neagle pushed through Atlanta’s backline. Credit to a missed defensive play, Neagle’s original cross to Sebastian Le Toux was deflected into the back of the net by Atlanta defender Michael Parkhurst.
The goal knocked the air out of Atlanta’s attacking pressure, as United took advantage of every opportunity that came their way. In the 27th minute, sprinting toward the goal with the ball, Luciano Acosta found a small hole just outside the 18-yard box. D.C. headed into the half with the momentum and the lead.
Le Toux scored his second goal in two games in the 55th minute. He caught United’s biggest break of the game, receiving the ball around midfield. Le Toux ran off to the races, getting behind Atlanta’s defense and converting a goal on a one-on-one with goalkeeper Alec Kann.
“I don’t know how we dealt with it,” Hamid said still shocked by his team’ performance. “From the first minute on we were under the gun. Credit to the guys. We all stuck in there. We took their wave of pressure and we kept going.”
For two weeks in a row, United has found a way to win on a thin roster due to injury. They return home from their three-week road trip with four points. United is back home at RFK Stadium Saturday, May 6 at 6 p.m.
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