The Houston Dynamo dropped their inaugural meeting with MLS’ newest expansion club, Atlanta United FC, by a 4-1 scoreline in front of 44,893 fans at Bobby Dodd Stadium tonight. Paraguayan midfielder Miguel Almirón led the home side to victory with a hat trick.
Houston midfielder Ricardo Clark made his professional debut in his home town in his 319th career MLS regular-season appearance, and Dynamo forward Erick Torres scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season on a penalty in the 90th minute.
Atlanta United opened up the scoring in the 30th minute when Almirón picked up a ball from midfielder Yamil Asad and, with one touch, turned past a pair of Dynamo defenders and then blasted a left-footed shot from the center of the box to the top left corner of the net.
Atlanta extended their lead moments before halftime. In the 42nd minute, midfielder Julian Gressel played a cross that was initially deflected by Dynamo defender Leonardo. However, the deflection fell on the feet of Asad who passed the ball to Almirón and his sliding shot ended in the top right corner of the goal.
Late goals from Gressel in the 76th minute and Almirón on a penalty in the 80th iced the game for the hosts.
The Dynamo had several excellent scoring chances throughout the game, but Atlanta goalkeeper Alec Kann came up big time after time. In the fourth minute, midfielder Boniek García slid and kicked the ball away from Atlanta’s defense. Forward Mauro Manotas was there to get the ball and after a give-and-go with midfielder Alex, fired a right footed shot that was parried away by Kann.
In the 28th minute, Manotas was fouled outside the box to earn a free kick. The young Colombian ripped his free kick through the Atlanta defensive wall, but Kann was there to push it wide of the goal.
After halftime, the Dynamo came out quickly to start the second stanza. In the 50th minute, defender Dylan Remick slipped a through ball to Alex inside the penalty area. The Brazilian’s blistering shot was once again stopped by Kann. Then in the 62nd minute, Alex slid a pass into the path of García 8 yards from the goal, but Kann was once again up to the challenge and smothered the shot.
The Dynamo will continue the 2017 season, presented by 76, on Sunday, May 28 at 7:00 p.m. CDT against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. That match will conclude a three-game road trip and will be televised nationally on FOX Sports 1.
Atlanta United FC (4-4-3; 15 pts.) 4-1 Houston Dynamo (6-5-1; 19 pts.)
MLS Week 12
May 20, 2017 – Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
ATL: Miguel Almirón 3 (Yamil Asad 4) 30
ATL: Miguel Almirón 4 (Yamil Asad 5) 42
ATL: Julian Gressel 2 (Hector Villalba 3) 76
ATL: Miguel Almirón 5 (penalty) 80
HOU: Erick Torres 9 (penalty) 90
Atlanta United FC: Alec Kann; Tyrone Mears, Michael Parkhurst ©, Leonardo González Pirez, Greg Garza; Jeff Larentowicz, Carlos Carmona; Julian Gressel, Miguel Almirón (Andrew Carleton 86), Yamil Asad; Héctor Villalba (Kenwyne Jones 83)
Unused Substitutes: Miles Robinson, Chris McCann, Kevin Kratz, Kyle Reynish, Mark Bloom
Total shots: 12 (Miguel Almirón 6); Shots on goal: 5 (Miguel Almirón 3); Fouls: 11 (Miguel Almirón, Greg Garza 3); Offside: 0; Corner kicks: 4 (Miguel Almirón, Yamil Asad 2); Saves: 4
Houston Dynamo: Joe Willis; A.J. DeLaGarza, Adolfo Machado, Leonardo, Dylan Remick (Romell Quioto 63); Juan David Cabezas; Alex (Erick Torres 68), Andrew Wenger (Ricardo Clark 76), Boniek García, DaMarcus Beasley ©; Mauro Manotas
Unused Substitutes: Tyler Deric, Vicente Sánchez, Jalil Anibaba, Memo Rodriguez
Total shots: 11 (Boniek García, Mauro Manotas, Erick Torres 2); Shots on goal: 5 (Mauro Manotas 2); Fouls: 15 (A.J. DeLaGarza, Boniek García 3); Offside: 2 (Mauro Manotas, Erick Torres 1); Corner kicks: 5 (Boniek García 5); Saves: 1
ATL: Greg Garza caution (foul) 51
ATL: Gerardo Martino ejection (dissent) 53
HOU: A.J. DeLaGarza caution (foul) 54
HOU: Adolfo Machado caution (foul) 59
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referee 1: Jeremy Hanson
Assistant Referee 2: Nick Uranga
Fourth Official: Ricardo Salazar