Atlanta United, Chicago play to a scoreless draw

Atlanta United midfielder Saba Lobjanidze #9 dribbles during the first half of the match against Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL on Saturday April 27, 2024. (Photo by Griffin Quinn/Atlanta United)

Credit: Griffin Quinn/Atlanta United

Credit: Griffin Quinn/Atlanta United

Atlanta United midfielder Saba Lobjanidze #9 dribbles during the first half of the match against Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL on Saturday April 27, 2024. (Photo by Griffin Quinn/Atlanta United)

CHICAGO -- A match filled with errant touches, misplayed passes and few shots on goal got the result it deserved with Atlanta United and Chicago muddling their way to a 0-0 draw on Saturday at Soldier Field.

The good for Atlanta United (3-3-3): It earned its second consecutive point from a road match. It also posted its third shutout and didn’t commit the obvious mental blunders that cost it five points from its previous two matches. Chicago was held without a shot on goal and was shut out for the third consecutive match.

The bad: An offense that had Giorgos Giakoumakis back generated very little for most of the match, despite Giakoumakis saying on Thursday that he thought the team would play well on Saturday after the previous two results. Its best chance came in the 85th minute when a back-post header by Daniel Rios was saved after Thiago Almada danced through Chicago defenders to put in a cross. Atlanta United finished with 18 shots, putting five on goal. Two shots on goal came in the final five minutes before stoppage time. It was Atlanta United’s third time being shut out this season.

“I think it was a progression of their game management, better buildup with possession, finding the third movements, but we couldn’t finish,” Atlanta United manager Gonzalo Pineda said. “So that’s why we didn’t get the three points.”

Pineda moved Giakoumakis back into the starting lineup for the first time in the past four matches. He was joined by attacking midfielder Almada, wingers Saba Lobjanidze and Tyler Wolff, in place of Edwin Mosquera, central midfielders Tristan Muyumba and Bartosz Slisz, centerbacks Efrain Morales, who was a late replacement for Noah Cobb and making his first-team debut, and Luis Abram, fullbacks Brooks Lennon, who moved into second on the franchise all-time list with his 112th regular-season start, and Caleb Wiley and goalkeeper Brad Guzan. Cobb was subbed off at halftime of last week’s match because of a migraine.

The highlight of a mostly dull first half was what appeared to be a goal scored by Wolff that was taken off because Giakoumakis was judged to have been offside earlier in the sequence. Atlanta United took eight shots, putting one on goal. Chicago took four, putting none on goal.

Chicago didn’t press Atlanta United as past opponents had. Instead, it sat in a block and tried to take space away.

“It was really difficult to penetrate, but then when we got in good areas, they were having a lot of numbers inside the box,” Pineda said. “So it was difficult to connect a few chances that we had from, from the prime assist zones.”

With the game continuing to slog along – only Chicago had increased its shot total and it was by one -- Pineda subbed on Rios and Mosquera for Giakoumakis and Wolff in the 66th minute.

Nothing popped for the next few minutes.

Dax McCarty came on for Muyumba in the 78th minute. It was McCarty’s 500th appearance in MLS in a regular season or playoff match.

Things finally started to happen.

Almada was played in by Mosquera in the 79th minute. His shot slammed off the crossbar and back into play. Lobjanidze followed with another shot that was saved.

Morales sent a diving header wide in stoppage time.

Chicago played most of stoppage time down a player because of an injury. Still, Atlanta United couldn’t break through.

“We can build on these performances,” Pineda said. “I think having good performances and not finishing the job with the final touch, with the final passes, is one thing, one issue. But another very difficult different issue is not creating chances, not to be on the front foot, not to dominate in certain moments. And I prefer to have this problem; I prefer to create chances and not finishing, we can work on that, we have to be sharper.”

Chicago didn’t come close to scoring in the second half. It finished with an expected goals of 1.0 despite not putting any shots on frame. Chicago created eight chances. Atlanta United finished with an expected goals of 1.21 and created 12 chances.

“I thought tonight was a step in the right direction, in terms of resiliency, in terms of playing a team that was fighting for their lives as well, they have a lot of injuries, a little bit of turmoil,” McCarty said. “And I don’t care what anyone says I don’t care that they lost 4-0 their last game, there is no such thing as an easy game in MLS.”

For more content about Atlanta United

Follow me on Twitter/X @DougRobersonAJC

On Facebook at Atlanta United News Now

On Instagram at DouglasDavidRoberson

Atlanta United coverage on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Southern Fried Soccer podcast can be found

Apple -

Spotify -

Google podcasts -

If you are listening to us for the first time, please follow us on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast ... and if you like what you hear, please give us a good rating so we can grow the show. If you have questions about the MLS team, you can email Doug Roberson at, DM him on Twitter @dougrobersonajc or call 404-526-2527.

Stay up to date every day on breaking news, in-depth investigations, politics, sports, entertainment, food and dining and so much more by becoming a subscriber to the AJC. Go to for a very special offer and unlock hundreds of original articles published daily on the refreshed and the new AJC mobile app. Plus, access to our news alerts, subscriber-only events, AJC original shows, films and videos, newsletters, and so much more.

Atlanta United’s 2024 schedule

Feb. 24 Columbus 1, Atlanta United 0

March 9 Atlanta United 4, New England 1

March 17 Atlanta United 2, Orlando 0

March 23 Toronto 2, Atlanta United 0

March 31 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 0

April 6 Atlanta United 1, NYCFC 1

April 14 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2

April 20 Cincinnati 2, Atlanta United 1

April 27 Atlanta United 0, Chicago 0

May 4 vs. Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.

May 11 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

May 15 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

May 18 at Nashville, 1:30 p.m.

May 25 vs. LAFC, 7:30 p.m.

May 29 at Miami, 7:30 p.m.

June 2 vs Charlotte, 4:30 p.m., FOX

June 15 vs. Houston, 7:30 p.m.

June 19 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

June 22 at St. Louis, 8:30 p.m.

June 29 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

July 3 at New England, 7:30 p.m.

July 6 at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m.

July 13 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 17 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m.

July 20 vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m.

July 26 vs. D.C. United in Leagues Cup, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 4 vs. Santos Laguna in Leagues Cup, 4 p.m.

Aug. 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 31 at Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 14 vs. Nashville, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 vs. Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 5 vs. Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Orlando, 6 p.m.