Herediano 3, Atlanta United 1 | 2019 Concacaf Champions League Recap

 
Herediano Highlights vs. Atlanta United FC

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Posted by Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League on Thursday, February 21, 2019

Defensive mistakes proved costly for Atlanta United in their anticipated Concacaf Champions League debut as Herediano cruised to a 3-1 win in the Round of 16 opening leg at Estadio Elario Rosabal Cordero Thursday night.

Atlanta have an uphill climb in the second leg at First Third Stadium in Kennesaw next Thursday.

The Costa Rican hosts raced in front after just eight minutes, capitalizing on a defensive miscue. George Bello chested to Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, who attempted an ill-advised headed ball back to goal. Ex-D.C. United forward Jose Guillermo Ortiz picked the ball off and chipped over the onrushing Brad Guzan before colliding with the goalkeeper.

Ortiz then played provider with the outside of his right foot, sending Randall Azofeifa behind the entire Atlanta defense on a 2-on-0 break. After his first touch, Azofeifa opened his shoulders to fake a pass before blasting past Guzan.

Julian Gressel pulled the Five Stripes back a goal in the 41st minute when his shot deflected off Herediano defender Pablo Salazar and into the net.

But then Gressel lost his mark at the back post where Esteban Granados latched onto an Azofeifa free kick to extend the hosts lead to 3-1 five minutes into the second half. Hector Villalba had a late chance for a second away goal, but his attempt caromed off the post.

Goals

  • 8’ — HER — Jose Guillermo Ortiz
  • 34’ — HER — Randall Azofeifa
  • 41’ — ATL — Julian Gressel
  • 50’ — HER — Esteban Granados

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: All the talk during Atlanta's preseason was about an emphasis on defending, but that wasn’t on display in Costa Rica Thursday night. ATLUTD gift-wrapped all three Herediano goals.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Gressel’s goal gave the visitors some hope, but that was essentially dashed by Granados in the 50th minute.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Azofeifa scored the second goal and then served up the third on a platter with his free kick five minutes into the second half.

Next Up

  • ATL: Thursday, Feb. 28 vs. Herediano (2nd leg, 8 pm ET | YahooSports.com, UDN)
  • HER: Sunday, Feb. 24 at San Carlos (7 pm ET)

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