Atlanta United’s unbeaten streak stopped by Revolution

Atlanta United defender Caleb Wiley #26 dribbles during the first half of the match against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Wednesday July 3, 2024. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta United)

Credit: Mitch Martin/Atlanta United

Credit: Mitch Martin/Atlanta United

Atlanta United defender Caleb Wiley #26 dribbles during the first half of the match against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on Wednesday July 3, 2024. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta United)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Playing its first match in the post-Thiago Almada era, Atlanta United’s offense was blunted in a 2-1 loss at New England on Wednesday.

Though the transfer of Almada is not yet official and likely won’t be on Thursday because it’s a holiday, Almada wasn’t with the team for the match.

Without its playmaker, Atlanta United’s offense (6-8-7) took a lot of shots but only three really tested the Revs, who had allowed 35 goals this season. Atlanta United finished with 18 chances created, 20 shots, seven on goal.

“I mean, that’s the tough part of it,” interim manager Rob Valentino said. “Like you look at the score, the score is 2-1 and we lose the game. So you can look at that. I mean, I think the positive is that there’s chances there.”

Daniel Rios scored the lone goal with a header in the 90th minute. The team fell to 0-3-2 this season without Almada in the starting lineup. New England finished with 12 shots, five on goal.

“We will miss him a lot,” Rios said. “He was a game-changer. He was the best player. We know about it, and we will deal with it.”

Defensively, Atlanta United was twice beaten by New England’s Giacomo Vrioni, who scored goals that Atlanta United’s players will rue when they watch a review.

Atlanta United was in the midst of a charmed streak in its previous matches, using magic from Almada to defeat D.C. United and craftiness by Jamal Thiare to defeat Toronto. Two goals allowed in those matches were overturned after reviews. The loss was the first for Valentino. It snapped the team’s four-match unbeaten road streak and four-match unbeaten streak.

Valentino again went with the 5-3-2 formation, starting his last available striker, Daniel Rios, with Xande Silva, midfielders Jay Fortune, Tristan Muyumba and Bartosz Slisz, in his first match since returning from the Euros, wingbacks Brooks Lennon and Caleb Wiley, centerbacks Stian Gregersen, Derrick Williams and Luis Abram, in his first match since returning from Copa America, and goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

New England took a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute on a goal by Vrioni, whose shot beat Guzan to the near post. Vrioni was played in by DeJuan Jones, whose pass went through Atlanta United’s midfield and past its centerbacks, who were stretched wide because the ball to Jones was played from the other side of the pitch. Vrioni ran onto the pass and beat Gregersen with a touch before spinning Williams to create space for the shot.

“It’s maybe just a play that we mistimed and misjudged on the tackles or didn’t win the actual tackle,” Valentino said.

Gregersen received a yellow card later in the half, meaning he will miss Saturday’s match at Real Salt Lake because of yellow card accumulation.

Atlanta United fell behind 2-0 in the 45th minute when Vrioni beat Gregersen to the back post to volley in a cross from Noel Buck. New England had put Atlanta United under pressure for several minutes before the goal. The Five Stripes couldn’t win the ball nor could they keep track of short movements made by Revs players in and around the 18-yard box.

Valentino said Atlanta United was under pressure in those minutes.

“No doubt about it,” Valentino said. “We were defending crosses, defending a little bit stronger inside the box. We’ve talked about ... not letting guys kind of get that inch and they got it and they punished us.”

Atlanta United took two good shots in the final seconds of the first half but New England’s Aljaz Ivacic made two great diving saves to his right.

Lennon said at halftime the team discussed that it wasn’t out of it. The team made adjustments with off-the-ball movements and put New England under a lot of pressure but couldn’t find a goal.

Lobjanidze subbed on for Muyumba in the 62nd minute. Vrioni had a third goal scored in the 76th minute taken off because he was judged offside when he made his run to a pass over Williams.

Tyler Wolff subbed on for Williams in the 80th minute.

Lobjanidze wasted a chance by putting a shot wide in the 80th minute when he was open about 14 yards from goal.

“I think the game opened up a little bit more for us, we created a lot of chances that we didn’t end up finishing and ultimately, it led to a loss,” Lennon said. “So those are the chances that we need to finish in games. The second half was was much better from the team.”

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 going to listen to the podcast for the first time, please follow it on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts ... 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 1, Chicago 1

May 4 Minnesota 2, Atlanta United 1

May 7 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte Independence 0 in U.S. Open Cup

May 11 D.C. United 3, Atlanta United 2

May 15 Cincinnati 1, Atlanta United 0

May 18 Atlanta United 1, Nashville 1

May 21 Atlanta United 0 (5), Charleston 0 (4) in U.S. Open Cup

May 25 LAFC 1, Atlanta United 0

May 29 Atlanta United 3, Miami 1

June 2 Charlotte 3, Atlanta United 2

June 15 Atlanta United 2, Houston 2

June 19 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 0

June 22 Atlanta United 1, St. Louis 1

June 29 Atlanta United 2, Toronto 1

July 3 New England 2, Atlanta United 1

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

July 9 vs. Indy Eleven in U.S. Open Cup

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.