Atlanta United falls flat in CONCACAF Champions League, lose to Monterrey

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Atlanta United CCL
ATLANTA, GA — MARCH 13: (20) Rodolfo Pizarro of CF Monterrey and (7) Josef Martinez of Atlanta United fight the ball during the match between Atlanta United and Monterrey as part of the CONCACAF Champions League 2019 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on March 13, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)

Atlanta, Georgia (March 13, 2019) — Atlanta United FC needed three goals to advance into the semifinals in the CONCACAF Champions League. Instead of pushing and pressing, Atlanta provided fans at Mercedes Benz Stadium a lackluster performance in the first half.

In the second half, Atlanta United FC got the ball rolling. Josef Martinez scored his third goal of the CCL in the 76th minute, off a stellar assist from Darlington Nagbe. However, with 15 minutes left in the match, Atlanta could not put up a second goal.

Atlanta United falls flat in CONCACAF Champions League, lose to Monterrey

Monterrey, on the other hand, gave Brad Guzan plenty of hassle throughout the whole match. Monterrey knew they were up three goals and traveling on the road, which could always provide harsh circumstances. However, the Mexican side pressed hard. Monterrey almost ruined Atlanta’s hopes in the 73rd minute.

Two consecutive shots for Monterrey smacked off the crossbar.

In the end, Monterrey proved to be the better team in the quarterfinal clash. Monterrey had a sense of urgency in the first half that Atlanta did not have. However, after the Martinez goal, Atlanta picked up.

If not for a foul committed by Martinez in the 82nd minute, Nagbe would have earned a goal of his own. Instead, Atlanta failed to put a second, or third, shot past Marcelo Barovero, with four minutes of stoppage time added in their favor. The Monterrey goalkeeper finished the night with three saves.

Meanwhile, Guzan completed four saves against Monterrey.

Now, in the CONCACAF Champions League, Monterrey will face the victor of C.A. Independiente de La Chorrera, located in Panama, and Sporting Kansas City. Currently, Independiente is leading on aggregate, 2-1. The match will be held at Children’s Mercy Park on Thursday night.

What’s Next for Atlanta?

Now that the team is out of the CONCACAF Champions League, Atlanta United has the midweek to prepare for their MLS matches. The start of the MLS season has not been kind to the defending champions.

After falling to D.C. United during opening weekend, 2-0, Atlanta United FC conceded a late goal to FC Cincinnati, drawing the expansion club, 1-1. The draw gave FC Cincinnati the team’s first-ever MLS point.

This week, Atlanta will host the Philadelphia Union at the Mercedes Benz Stadium on Sunday. The match will be televised via Fox Sports GO, with a kick off time of 7 p.m. ET. Philadelphia enters the match with two consecutive losses to Toronto FC and Sporting Kansas City.

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