It took nearly 45 minutes to break the deadlock, but just on the stroke of halftime, D.C. took the lead with a close-range goal from Paul Arriola following a corner kick, in which Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta each picked up their first assists of 2019. Not long after the start of the second half Acosta doubled D.C.'s advantage with a goal from distance, wrong-footing Brad Guzan.
Sandwiched between two midweek Concacaf Champions League matches, Atlanta opted for a near full strength starting XI, with just Pity Martinez and Julian Gressel hitting the bench from the club's last CCL lineup. Martinez had to wait until the 59th minute for his MLS debut while Lucas Rodriguez made his debut from the start for D.C. United, lasting 67 minutes and collecting an assist.
D.C. become the first MLS side in 2019 to keep a clean sheet, coming against last season's top attack.
- THE BIG PICTURE: D.C. United are ready to challenge at the top of the Eastern Conference, signaling their intent with a fantastic performance against last season's champions and one of 2019's favorites to win it all.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Acosta's goal from distance had some wicked spin and a slick bounce, but, Guzan will probably want this one back. Most importantly, it pushed D.C.'s lead to two with little more than a half hour left.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: After nearly leaving for PSG this winter, Acosta enjoyed a tremendous 2019 debut, showing his mind is still in D.C. With a goal, assist and a number of fantastic passes, Acosta turned in the evening's top performance.