While Atlanta United’s defense posted its fourth shutout thanks to a heroic effort from goalkeeper Brad Guzan, its offense was shut out for the first time this season in Wednesday’s 0-0 draw at LAFC.
Despite fielding all three Designated Players and being the second highest scoring team in MLS, Atlanta United (6-4-7) didn’t put a shot on goal. It was the first time since July 2019 at Chicago that the team failed to put a (non-penalty kick) shot on goal and first time in franchise history that it failed to put any type of shot on goal. The Five Stripes took only four shots and finished with an expected goals total of 0.75. It was the sixth time this season that Atlanta United posted an expected goals total of less than 1. LAFC had an expected goals of 2.30, coming from its 22 shots, eight on goal.
“A little bit different because I felt that last week we played very good, and we didn’t get the points,” manager Gonzalo Pineda said. “I think today, especially the second half, we didn’t play our best football, but we got one point, so it was a bit positive.”
Possession was divided evenly between the teams. The difference was LAFC’s ability to put together combination of passes and movement. It finished with 16 chances created. Atlanta United finished with four. No player had more than one. None of Atlanta United’s three DPS, Giorgos Giakoumakis, Thiago Almada or Luiz Araujo, completed more than 54% of their passes in LAFC’s defensive third of the field.
“Obviously, we want to play better, especially away, but happy with the mentality of keeping the clean sheet,” Pineda said. “A clean sheet always gives us a point. And it’s a tough opponent. It’s the champion, the team at the top of the West, the team that went to the final of CCL (Concacaf Champions League) so we have to respect that and value this point because it was earned with good defending.”
Atlanta United won’t have long to worry about its offense. The team will host D.C. United on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta United is 5-1-2 at home this season. It will be an important opportunity for team to earn three points and possibly pass New England for fourth place in the East. The top four teams will earn home matches in the postseason.
“I think we played a very complete game,” midfielder Franco Ibarra said. “In the first half we were able to play more, and in the second it was a little obvious that they were going to come. They’re at home, they’re a great team. But we were able to keep a clean sheet, and I think it’s a good result knowing that this weekend we have the next game at home.”
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Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule
Feb. 25 Atlanta United 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1
March 4 Atlanta United 1, Toronto FC 1
March 11 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte FC 0
March 18 Atlanta United 5, Portland 1
March 25 Columbus 6, Atlanta United 1
April 1 Atlanta United 1, New York Red Bulls 0
April 8 Atlanta United 1, New York City FC 1
April 15 Atlanta United 2, Toronto FC 2
April 23 Atlanta United 2, Chicago 1
April 29 Nashville SC 3, Atlanta United 1
May 6 Inter Miami CF 2, Atlanta United 1
May 13 Charlotte 3, Atlanta United 1
May 17 Atlanta United 4, Colorado 0
May 20 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 3
May 27 Atlanta United 1, Orlando 1
May 31 Atlanta United 3, New England 3
June 7 Atlanta United 0, LAFC 0
June 10 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
June 21 vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.
June 24 at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.
July 2 vs. Philadelphia Union, 4 p.m., Fox
July 8 at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
July 12 at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.
July 15 vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m., FS1
July 25 at Miami in Leagues Cup, 7:30 p.m.
July 29 vs. Cruz Azul in Leagues Cup, 8 p.m.
Aug. 20 at Seattle Sounders, 10:30 p.m.
Aug. 26 vs. Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 30 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 2 at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 at FC Cincinnati, TBA