The founding MLS club knocked off their expansion counterparts for the second time in two tries on Wednesday, riding a gloriously-struck Patrick Nyarko side volley to a 2-1 win at RFK Stadium.
The two sides traded goals in the midst of a lively first half, both keyed by their opponents' errors. First Atlanta exploited a slack back pass by Ian Harkes to race out on the break, with Julian Gressel finishing firmly at close range. Six minutes later Luciano Acosta intercepted a poor pass by Alec Kann and then compounded the goalkeeper's embarassment by beating him at the near post with a low worm-burner.
The second stanza unfolded in similarly breathless fashion, yet despite many chances, Miguel Almiron and the rest of the Five Stripes could not find a way past Bill Hamid after Nyarko's moment of magic.
- Analyst's Den: Nyarko uses a touch to split the Atlanta defense
- Nyarko rallies DC United in timely Atlanta win: "We've got to go get more"
- Commentary: Atlanta United stuck when building out of the back
- BLACK-AND-RED BOGEY: How did D.C. get Atlanta's number? The capital club have won five games thus far this season; two have come against ATL. They've scored only 12 goals in 16 games; five of them have come against ATL. Whether it's the contrast in their styles, coaching wrinkles from Ben Olsen or something else, the elder United have bedeviled the younger ones. They meet one more time in league play, at RFK on Aug. 23.
- 'KEEPING QUESTIONS: Kann's mistake on D.C.'s opener comes at an awkward time for the goalkeeper, with Brad Guzan joining Atlanta this week (though the US international isn't eligible for match action until his move is completed when the international window opens). Kann bailed out his teammates in Saturday's win over Columbus, but he's about to face stiff competition for the starting role.
- NYARKO GRABS SPOTLIGHT: MLS' worst in terms of goals scored, D.C. United's attack has been ailing lately – in fact, Acosta's opener snapped an open-play scoring drought that had stretched to nearly 700 minutes. But there was no sign of it on Wednesday, and Nyarko was a major reason why. Making just his third start in D.C.'s last 10 league games, the Ghanaian was lively down the left flank, forcing Tyrone Mears to defend more than usual and carving out chance after chance for his teammates.
Armchair Analyst: Nyarko uses a single touch to claim the attention of every Atlanta defender pic.twitter.com/ifee6BKh46— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) June 22, 2017
- DC: Saturday, June 24 – at Philadelphia (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE)
- ATL: Saturday, June 24 – vs. Colorado (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE)