Atlanta United 1, DC United 2 | 2020 MLS Match Recap
A strike from Gelmin Rivas in second-half stoppage time gave D.C. United a 2-1 win at Atlanta United on Saturday evening, throwing another major wrinkle into the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs race in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta could've vaulted above the playoff line with a win and now face an uphill climb with three regular-season games remaining. D.C. are just one point behind ATLUTD after winning back-to-back games for the first time in 2020.
Rivas rocketed home a left-footed shot in the 92nd minute after some brilliant set-up play by homegrown midfielder Kevin Paredes. It was the Venezuelan striker’s first goal in MLS, and served as heartbreak for Atlanta.
The Five Stripes thought they salvaged a draw – and possibly could’ve rallied for a win – after Jon Gallagher made it 1-1 in the 89th minute. The Ireland native headed home a deep Brooks Lennon cross from the right flank, sparking hope into the home side.
The frenetic finish started in the 77th minute when Russell Canouse gave D.C. United a 1-0 lead with a header of his own. Canouse, deputizing at center back, launched home a Julian Gressel free kick that Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan couldn’t keep out.
Aside from Gallagher’s goal, Atlanta’s best chances came through Marcelino Moreno, their new Designated Player. The former Lanus midfielder came closest in the 45th minute with a long-range blast, but Bill Hamid parried it away.
- 77' – DC – Russell Canouse | WATCH
- 89' – ATL – Jon Gallagher | WATCH
- 90'+2' – DC – Gelmin Rivas | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: The playoff implications are profound, particularly for Atlanta United. They’re two points behind 10th place in the Eastern Conference (for the moment), so it’s certainly possible that the 2018 MLS Cup champions will spend the postseason watching from home. D.C. also face an uphill climb, though they’re quietly 2W-1L-1D since Ben Olsen departed as head coach. They’re playing with a bit more confidence and it’s showing on the field.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Elation for D.C. United, emptiness for Atlanta United. That’s what Gelmin Rivas caused in the 92nd minute with his powerful strike that sent the visitors home with all three points and left the hosts lamenting their missed opportunity.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: We’re going with Russell Canouse, both for his goal and versatility. He admirably filled in at center back alongside Donovan Pines and continues to be a Swiss Army knife of sorts for D.C. United.