Atlanta United started well but it was the Red Bulls who took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Lewis Morgan in the 11th minute. The sequence started with a turnover by Araujo in his team’s half. Kyle Duncan beat two Atlanta United defenders down the right side to put in a cross that was deflected by Cristian Casseres to the unmarked Morgan, who one-timed a shot into the left corner.
A second Red Bulls goal, scored by John Tolkin from a cross that became a shot in the 15th minute from a corner kick, was at first waved off by referee Ted Unkel. After a review that lasted four minutes to see if Patrik Klimala was offside, Unkel reversed his decision, resulting in Atlanta United trailing 2-0. It was the 10th goal from a set piece allowed by Atlanta United this season and second in as many games. The shot by Tolkin, who wasn’t pressured by an Atlanta United player, went just over Klimala’s head and into the left corner. Rios Novo had a chance to save it but the ball went through his hands.
The first two goals were mistakes that Atlanta United has made all season, including in last week’s 2-2 draw with Cincinnati. The first was the turnover in its half. The second was poor making on a set piece.
Rios Novo was forced to make two more last-gasp saves after defensive breakdowns to keep the score 2-0 at halftime. The Red Bulls took 11 shots, putting five on goal, and finished the first half with an expected goals total of 0.8. Atlanta United’s offense wasn’t as bad as its defense, but it was close. It finished the half with an expected goals total of 0.3 after putting three of its six shots on goal. None were very threatening.
Pineda didn’t waste time making changes. On came Andrew Gutman and Brooks Lennon to start the second half in place of Marcelino Moreno and Hernandez. With the change, Cisneros moved from right wing to a striker alongside Martinez. Wiley moved to left wing in place of Araujo, who moved to the right side in place of Moreno.
With just one shot on goal in the second half, Pineda made two more changes in the 64th minute, putting on Dom Dwyer for Cisneros and Edwin Mosquera for Wiley.
The moves weren’t enough.
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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule
Feb. 27 Atlanta United 3, Sporting KC 1
March 5 Colorado 3, Atlanta United 0
March 13 Atlanta United 2, Charlotte 1
March 19 Atlanta United 3, Montreal 3
April 2 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 0
April 10 Charlotte 1, Atlanta United 0
April 16 Atlanta United 0, Cincinnati 0
April 24 Miami 2, Atlanta United 1
April 30 Montreal 2, Atlanta United 1
May 7 Atlanta United 4, Chicago 1
May 15 Atlanta United 2, New England 2
May 21 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2
May 28 Columbus 2, Atlanta United 1
June 19 Atlanta United 2, Miami 0
June 25 Toronto 2, Atlanta United 1
June 30 New York Red Bulls 2, Atlanta United 1
July 3 Atlanta United 2, NYCFC 2
July 9 Austin 3, Atlanta United 0
July 13 Atlanta United 2, Real Salt Lake 1
July 17 Atlanta United 1, Orlando 1
July 24 L.A. Galaxy 2, Atlanta United 0
July 30 Atlanta United 0, Chicago 0
August 6 Atlanta United 2, Seattle 1
August 13 Atlanta United 2, Cincinnati 2
August 17 New York Red Bulls 2, Atlanta United 1
August 21 at Columbus, 5:30 p.m., FS1
August 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV
August 31 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m., FS1
Sept. 4 at Portland, 5:30 p.m., FOX
Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Sept. 14 at Orlando, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Sept 17 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., UniMas
Oct. 1 at New England, 1 p.m., UniMas
Oct. 9 vs. NYCFC, TBD, BSSO/BSSE
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism