Sunday April 21st, 2024 10:59AM

Atlanta United blanks Chicago Fire

By ATLUTD Communications

ATLANTA — Atlanta United defeated Chicago Fire FC 3-0 Sunday afternoon in front of 42,525 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Giorgos Giakoumakis scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season, and Jamal Thiaré scored his first two goals with the club on his birthday as Atlanta United won its third consecutive home match. With his 22nd goal in MLS regular season play, Giakoumakis moved into second place all-time for the club. The win also marked Atlanta's second consecutive clean sheet at home.

Atlanta dictated the match from the opening whistle, producing its first chance in the ninth minute. Giakoumakis pressed a defender deep in Chicago's own half, forcing a turnover and allowing Saba Lobjanidze to dribble into the penalty area and rip a shot on goal from a tight angle. Giakoumakis chased after the rebound, but his attempt was off-target.

Thiago Almada began to find his footing shortly after, combining with Lobjanidze on the left side of the box in the 14th minute for a give-and-go, but he also placed his shot wide of the goal. Two minutes later, Almada again threatened to score as he fired a low shot from distance that flew inches wide of the left post.

Atlanta continued to press for the opening goal until the final moments of the first half, and ultimately took the lead in 45th minute. Brad Guzan made a save on shot from distance and immediately played a long ball to Almada standing near midfield on the left side. He quickly found Xande Silva, who slipped a ball to Lobjanidze down left flank. The Georgian one-timed a cross to Giakoumakis where he toe-poked the ball into goal for his fifth of the season.

Needing a spark to put the game out of reach in the second half, head coach Gonzalo Pineda made a trio of substitutions in 64th minute, bringing on Thiaré, Edwin Mosquera and Jay Fortune. The switch produced an immediate impact as Atlanta doubled its lead just seconds later.

Derrick Williams started the play deep in Atlanta's half, booting the ball to midfield for Almada where the Argentine cleverly pulled it out of the air, avoided a defender and progressed the ball forward to Lobjanidze. The winger dribbled towards goal before sending Brooks Lennon a through ball on the right side. Lennon then delivered a pin-point cross to the back post for Thiaré where he headed the ball into the net with his first touch of the game. It marked Thiaré's first goal with Atlanta since arriving at the club last summer.

Chicago's Carlos Teran was shown a straight red card in the 84th minute for a studs-up challenge on Edwin Mosquera. With the one-man advantage, Atlanta continued to search for a third goal and eventually iced the match deep in stoppage time again through Thiaré. In the 95th minute, Almada had a shot strike the left post and roll to Thiaré on the right side. The Senegalese striker took one touch to his left to avoid a sliding challenge before smashing a shot into the bottom right corner for his second goal of the night.

Atlanta United (3-2-0, 9 points) returns to action Saturday, April 6 when it travels to face New York City FC at Citi Field 

  • Associated Categories: Sports, Atlanta United, Top Sports Stories
  • Associated Tags: Atlanta United
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