D.C. United's Sunday visit to Atlanta United began the way many observers expected, with a barrage of pressure from the home side yielding an early goal for Kenwyne Jones.
What happened after that was a great deal less predictable.
Inspired by the mazy runs of Luciano Acosta, the visitors stunned the capacity crowd at Bobby Dodd Stadium with a furious rally that pushed Major League Soccer's original United past its newest one by a 3-1 final score.
D.C. drew level on a quirky own goal, then surged ahead via strikes from Acosta and veteran Sebastien Le Toux. Despite a marked dominance in possession and other statistical categories, Atlanta could do little to change the story as their home record fell to 1-2 in the season's early going.
- 9' – ATL – Kenwyne Jones Watch
- 25' – DC – Michael Parkhurst (OG) Watch
- 36' – DC – Luciano Acosta Watch
- 55' – DC – Sebastien Le Toux Watch
- MUCHO LUCHO: Maybe Acosta had heard too much pregame praise about Atlanta's talented South American contingent. Perhaps the packed hordes at Bobby Dodd helped him raise his game. Whatever got D.C.'s diminutive Argentinean playmaker cooking, the result was devastating for ATL UTD. Acosta scored one, created another and ensured that quality trumped quantity when it came to the two teams' attacking efforts.
- HAMID A MAJOR KEY: Atlanta is known for its prolific music industry, but Sunday's Organized Noize could be found in the away team's penalty box. D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid was excellent from the opening whistle (unlike a few of his teammates), making two huge saves in the early minutes and six on the day to frustrate the Five Stripes' array of attacking weapons.
- QUESTIONS FOR TATA: ATL UTD have generally fared better away from home this season, and have now blown four leads. While the breathless euphoria of their first months of play is deserved, head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino" must consider whether his team's full-throttle mindset and aggressive high-pressing tactics need some adjustment to stem the flow of dropped points.