ATLANTA — Atlanta United fell to Sporting KC 2-0 on Wednesday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in front of a sold-out crowd of 44,696 fans. After controlling play for much of the first half-hour, which included a goal by Josef Martinez that was wiped away by video review, the game changed in the 34th minute when Brad Guzan was issued a straight red card. Atlanta put more shots on goal than Sporting KC, but was kept scoreless.
Guzan was issued a straight red card for tackling Khiry Shelton on the edge of the 18. Shelton was played in toward goal with a through ball from midfield. He beat Guzan by a step and was ultimately taken down, forcing Paul Christensen, who signed a Short-Term Agreement on Tuesday, into the game to make his MLS debut.
After a scoreless hour, Sporting KC ultimately took the lead in the 67th minute from Daniel Salloi. The winger received a pass on the edge of the 18 on the left wing, then took a few dribbles toward the middle of the field before curling a shot into the bottom-right corner that left Christensen without much of a chance.
Kevin Kratz, a second-half substitute, had two opportunities to equalize from free kicks. The German midfielder had just scored twice from similar distances against Montreal and forced Tim Melia to make nearly identical diving saves to preserve the lead.
Gerso Fernandes doubled the lead in the 87th minute off of a counterattack. In alone toward goal, Fernandes deked past an on-rushing Christensen, and passed the ball into the back of the net for the 2-0 lead.
Atlanta United (7-2-1, 22 points) returns to action when it travels to face Orlando City SC on Sunday (6 p.m., FS1).