Atlanta United's first foray into the Concacaf Champions League continued on Wednesday, as the defending MLS Cup champion lost 3-0 to CF Monterrey at Estadio BBVA Bancomer in Guadalupe, Mexico in the quarterfinal round's first leg.
The loss gives Frank de Boer's side only a sliver of hope heading into the second leg, which will be hosted at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a week's time.
15 minutes in, Monterrey drew a penalty, as Dorlan Pabon was pushed over by Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. Nicolas Sanchez scored the spot kick to put the home side ahead 1-0.
From there, both teams struggled to find incisive attacking play. While it looked as though Atlanta could escape Mexico with a one-goal loss, Pabon unleashed a shot from the edge of the 18-yard box that doubled Monterrey's lead on the night and in the series in the 80th minute. Another goal from Jesus Gallardo strengthened the Rayados' position even more on the night.
- 17' – MTY – Nicolas Sanchez (PK)
- 80' – MTY – Dorlan Pabon
- 84' – MTY – Jesus Gallardo
- THE BIG PICTURE: If the game had been 79 minutes long, Atlanta United would have likely been satisfied with just a 1-0 loss after the first leg. But the late goals conceded really puts them under pressure, and against one of the titans of Mexican soccer, it will be a tough task to overturn the series, even at home.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Pabon's late strike really put Atlanta in a hole and it could be the defining goal of the series.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Pabon had a goal, an assist, and drew the penalty for Monterrey. Can't get much more involved in the scoresheet than that.
- ATL: Sunday, March 10 vs. FC Cincinnati (5 pm ET | ESPN in USA; TSN4 in Canada)