“I’m very happy with the performance,” he said. “But as you can imagine, we’re not happy with the result. So let’s continue with the process. I think it’s going well. The team is playing very good.”
Last week, the team used two goals from Thiago Almada in stoppage time to defeat San Jose. Atlanta United will play its first road game at Charlotte next week.
The game also saw the debut of Designated Player Giorgos Giakoumakis, who produced a few moments of excitement. He said he wasn’t happy with himself because he didn’t score.
Pineda made one change from last week’s starting 11, choosing Miguel Berry at striker over Jackson Conway. The rest of the group was composed of Brad Guzan in goal with Miles Robinson and JuanJo Purata as the centerbacks, Brooks Lennon and Andrew Gutman as the fullbacks, Franco Ibarra, Rossetto and Almada in the midfield, and Caleb Wiley and Luiz Araujo on the wings.
Toronto was without Lorenzo Insigne, who missed the game because of an injury suffered last week.
Atlanta United apparently applied lessons learned from last week’s game as players passed up several opportunities for long-range shots in favor of trying to get closer to take a crack at Sean Johnson’s goal. Atlanta United’s first two shots on goal came from Rossetto.
“It’s something that I’ve been working on trying to get forward more,” Rossetto said. “It’s something I tried to do last year, but just talking more with Gonzalo it’s something that he wants me to do is to push forward.”
Atlanta United’s best chance came on a header put over the bar by Purata from yards away. Atlanta United took seven shots, three from inside the 18-yard box, in the half, putting two on goal. Toronto was held to one shot. It wasn’t on goal.
But Toronto struck first on a goal by Federico Bernardeschi from 20 yards in the 52nd minute. He received the ball from Michael Bradley, who was given time and space to turn and pass, while sprinting down the right side of the field. Bernardeschi’s low, hard shot beat Guzan at the near post. It was Toronto’s first shot on goal.
It was one of the few moments in the game in which Atlanta United didn’t press Toronto.
“That’s why I didn’t say it was perfect; it was close to perfection,” Pineda said. “And just because of that play, in my opinion, we dominated the game in every facet, aside from that play, and that will be the difference.”
Pineda subbed in Giakoumakis and Derrick Etienne Jr. for Berry and Wiley in the 59th minute in an attempt to find the tying goal. It came one minute later on a shot by Rossetto that took two deflections off Toronto players. It was Rossetto’s first goal for the club, with Almada and Etienne credited with assists.
The sequence started with a cross from Lennon to Etienne, who passed it to Almada, who passed it to Rossetto, who shot from 20 yards.
“I‘m very happy for it,” Rossetto said. “I think if we had won I’d been even happier. But it’s something I’ve been working towards and hopefully I can score more maybe five to 10 this season.”
Etienne was pushed down in the box in the 71st minute after attacking two Toronto defenders but no penalty kick was awarded.
Giakoumakis thought he scored the goal-ahead goal in the 77th minute but Purata, whose header hit the post, which resulted in the ball bouncing to Giakoumakis, was judged offside. Replays showed Purata appeared to be onside. A review resulted in the offside call standing.
Johnson made two saves in the final 13 minutes to deny Atlanta United.
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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 at Charlotte FC, noon, Fox
March 18 vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.
March 25 at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
April 1 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.
April 8 at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.
April 15 at Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.
April 23 vs. Chicago Fire FC, 4:30 p.m., FS1
April 29 at Nashville SC, 1:30 p.m., Fox
May 6 at Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.
May 13 vs. Charlotte FC, 7:30 p.m.
May 17 vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m.
May 20 at Chicago Fire FC, 8:30 p.m.
May 27 at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.
May 31 vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m., FS1
June 3 at Los Angeles FC, 10:30 p.m.
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
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