D.C. United won their second consecutive match on the road on Saturday, as they defeated Atlanta United FC 1-2 in thrilling fashion at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
All three goals came in the final 15 minutes of the match, with Gelmin Rivas finding the back of the net in the 92nd minute, to secure all three points for the Black-and-Red for the first time at the 71,000-seat stadium in Atlanta.
Interim Head Coach, Chad Ashton, set-up his side in the same 4-4-2 formation that saw United win away to FC Cincinnati their last time out. Bill Hamid returned to the starting lineup, with Chris Odoi-Atsem, Russell Canouse, Donovan Pines, and Joseph Mora starting as the back four. Júnior Moreno recovered from a hamstring injury and slotted into the midfield alongside Yamil Asad, Julian Gressel, and Edison Flores. Ola Kamara and Erik Sorga started up top as United’s two forwards.
The first goal-scoring opportunity of the match went United’s way. Julian Gressel threaded a pass into Erik Sorga’s path as he ran in-behind the Atlanta defense, but his near post effort was saved by a diving Brad Guzan. On the other end, Hamid, in his return to the lineup, kept Atlanta scoreless, making three first-half saves. His best came right before halftime, where he punched away a strong shot from outside the box. Neither team were able to find the back of the net in the opening 45, and the sides went into the break level 0-0.
The scoreless draw was finally broken in the 78th minute when Julian Gressel picked out Russel Canouse on a free kick from about 30 yards from goal. Canouse held off his man, and headed home for his second goal of the season. The goal marked D.C. United’s third straight match in which they scored from a set piece. United’s lead was short-lived however, as Atlanta equalized in the 89th minute thanks to a Jon Gallagher header.
The match seemed to be destined for a 1-1 final, until the 92nd minute when second-half substitutes, Gelmin Rivas and Kevin Paredes linked-up for a dramatic winner. Homegrown midfielder, Kevin Paredes received a pass from Joseph Mora just outside the box, beat an Atlanta defender and drove toward the endline where he cut the ball back to Rivas who was waiting near the penalty spot. The Venezuelan forward, took one touch to settle and then unleashed a left footed strike into the roof of the net. The goal was Rivas’ first for the club and Paredes’ first career MLS assist.
The Black-and-Red have won two straight road matches and have earned seven points from a possible nine in their last three games. United are now only three points out of a playoff spot with three matches to go.
D.C. United will be looking for their third straight win when they return home to Audi Field to take on the Columbus Crew on Wednesday, October 28 at 8 p.m. EST. Tune into WJLA 24/7 News, www.dcunited.com, and ESPN+ to watch the match.