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10-man Atlanta holds on for win over Loons

Atlanta United FC made their second trip to “the land of a thousand lakes”, and once again they returned home with all three points.

While Minnesota United FC played the majority of the match with a man advantage, they couldn’t make it count, losing, 1-0, to Atlanta on an own goal.

The Loons struggled to take their chances, but held advantages over Atlanta in possession, shots, and number of passes complete. Atlanta made the Loons pay for their early mistakes.

Hector Villalba opened the scoring for the visitors, forcing an own goal in the third minute. Miguel Almiron’s corner kick deflected and forced Matt Lampson to make a quick reaction save. The ball deflected out to Villalba, who rose above the defense to head the ball off the crossbar, deflect off of Francisco Calvo, and roll into the net.

The Loons started the match with a lot of intensity, attacking and Sam Nicholson was nearly played in behind the Atlanta backline. Leandro Gonzalez Pires pulled down Nicholson to stop the attack and earned a yellow card inside the first minute.

The ill-advised infraction would later comeback to haunt Pires as he earned a second yellow card in the 38th minute and was dismissed leaving Atlanta to play a man down for the final 50 minutes.

After the dismissal, Atlanta sat numbers behind the ball and gave up possession to focus on defending and frustrating the Loons. Christian Ramirez was inserted by Adrian Heath to add attacking presence to the Loons who had been struggling to create real danger in the final third.

In the final 10 minutes of the match, Atlanta bunkered and survived a furious attacking display from the Loons, but the home side looked snake bit, missing a number of quality chances.

Up next, Atlanta (3-1-0) will welcome LAFC to Mercedes Benz stadium next Saturday, with a chance continue to climb the eastern conference standings.

The Loons (2-3-0) will get the next weekend off, giving the second-year side a chance to reflect on their second straight defeat.

Man of the Match

Michael Parkhurst led the Atlanta backline after the visitors were reduced to 10-men. While it wasn’t the prettiest display, it was gritty and wholly necessary to earn the road victory.

Moment of the Match

Fancisco Calvo’s own goal defined the match in the opening minutes. Despite

Match to Forget

Hard to argue that anyone had a worse game than Leandro Gonzalez Pires. The center back put himself under the gun earning a yellow card in the first minute of the match and left his team in a hole with his dismissal in the 38th minute. Gozalez Pires is too important to Atlanta to suffer such a bout of indiscipline.


  1. So proud of the boys after such a “BONE HEADED” display by LGP. Everyone loves a win and the three points BUT the more important thing here is that the team defended with discipline and courage to earn the three points. This level of commitment and grit will make them a better team going forward! [double entendre].


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