Atlanta United used an own goal by Minnesota United in the first three minutes of the game, then relied on a defensive effort as they played with 10 men for the final 55 minutes in a 1-0 road win Saturday night.
The tone of the game changed late in the first half when Atlanta’s Leandro Gonzalez Pirez received his second yellow card and was disqualified from the match.
The tempo of the match was altered immediately over the last 10 minutes of the half. Atlanta (3-1-0), who had the better run of play, turned to a defensive posture for the remainder of the half.
Much of the same ensued in the second half. From a statistical standpoint, Minnesota (2-3-0) dominated time of possession, but the control of the ball resulted in very few legitimate scoring chances.
Atlanta was content to slow the tempo, sitting back on defense through the final 45 minutes. Even when it countered, no more than three players - if that - made runs down the field.
Minnesota did find a few scoring chances as time wound down, but all went for naught behind some big saves from Atlanta goalie Brad Guzan.
The game couldn’t have started much worse for Minnesota. Less than three minutes into a game, an Atlanta corner kick deflected off a Minnesota player right at Minnesota goalie Matthew Lampson.
The ball bounced off Lampson to Atlanta’s Hector Villalba. A quick return from Villalba was deflected off the cross bar by Lampson, but the rebound hit Minnesota defender Francisco Calvo and bounced into the goal for the game-winner.
—Field Level Media