Atlanta United followed its disappointing 4th of July loss with a strong road win over Philadelphia on Saturday night. See what we learned.
Atlanta United shutout Philadelphia Union on Saturday night 2-0, bouncing back from a 3-2 midweek loss in Dallas. It was Atlanta’s league-leading sixth road win on the season and the team’s sixth clean sheet of the season. The Five Stripes are still at the top of the Supporters Shield standings with 40 points in 20 games.
In the end their performance on Saturday night was strong, but it was not without its flaws. Atlanta struggled mightily in the first half, especially in their overall passing. The team looked out of sorts and not on the same page with each other. The second half was much stronger and the team overcame fatigue and Philadelphia’s tactics (which almost worked).
See what we learned from Saturday night in Philadelphia.
5. Atlanta overcame Philadelphia’s tactics
Philadelphia Union employed a specific tactic on Saturday night in an attempt to beat Atlanta. It almost worked, too. Philadelphia pressed high for most of the night, and all of the first half. The Union are not normally a high pressing team; you might think of New York Red Bulls or New England Revolution when you think of the high press. However, Jim Curtin clearly had the game plan in place to stop Atlanta from possessing the ball and force a mistake.
There are two reasons the high press didn’t work. The first reason is that Philadelphia was unable to finish their chances. The second is that Atlanta pushed through the press in the second half.
In the first half, Philadelphia shot 11 times but only put one of their shots on target. If the Union converted even one of those shots, the game would’ve been much different. Atlanta might have become frustrated and tried to force an equalizer instead of playing the game the way they like. In the second half, Atlanta broke through the press because they scored in the 58th minute, forcing Philadelphia to somewhat abandon their plan. Even then, it still took until the 76th minute to score a goal in the run of play.