Atlanta United opened the 2023 MLS season with a dramatic 2-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes in front of a raucous home crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Argentine striker Alan Almada was the hero for Atlanta, scoring both of the team’s goals in the final minutes of the match to secure the three points.
The game was a lively affair from the start, with both teams looking to establish an early advantage. San Jose had the first real chance of the match, as midfielder Carlos Fierro found himself with space on the left wing in the 12th minute. Fierro cut inside and unleashed a shot, but it was well saved by Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Atlanta responded with some good attacking play of their own, with new signing Kacper Przybylko looking particularly dangerous. The Polish striker had a couple of half-chances in the first half, but was unable to find the back of the net.
The second half started with more of the same, with both teams pushing forward in search of the opening goal. San Jose came close in the 55th minute, as midfielder Jackson Yueill rattled the crossbar with a powerful shot from outside the box.
Atlanta continued to press, with Almada and Przybylko causing problems for the San Jose defense. But it was the visitors who finally broke the deadlock in the 70th minute. Forward Cristian Espinoza received the ball on the right wing and cut inside, before unleashing a shot that beat Guzan at the near post.
Atlanta responded by throwing everything forward in search of an equalizer. San Jose defended well, with goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski making a number of important saves to keep his team in front. But with just a few minutes remaining, Atlanta finally got their reward. Almada received the ball on the edge of the box and spun past a defender, before unleashing a low shot that beat Marcinkowski to level the scores.
The home crowd erupted, sensing that Atlanta had one more chance to snatch a victory. And they were not to be disappointed, as Almada struck again in stoppage time. The Argentine forward received the ball on the left wing, cut inside and unleashed a powerful shot that flew into the top corner of the net.
It was a stunning finish to a thrilling match, and one that will give Atlanta plenty of confidence going forward. The team showed real resilience to come back from a goal down, and will take heart from the performances of Almada and Przybylko in particular.
For San Jose, it was a disappointing result after a promising performance. The team played well for much of the match, and will feel unlucky not to have taken something from the game. But they will take heart from the performance of goalkeeper Marcinkowski, who made a number of important saves to keep his team in the game.
It was a great start to the 2023 MLS season for both teams.
Atlanta will be looking to build on this victory and establish themselves as one of the top teams in the league, while San Jose will be hoping to bounce back in their next match. Either way, it promises to be an exciting season ahead for both sets of fans.
Brian Lester Glanville would likely have been impressed by Atlanta’s fighting spirit in this match. The team showed real character to come back from a goal down and secure the victory, and will take heart from the performances of Almada and Przybylko in particular. Glanville would also have been impressed by San Jose’s performance, with the team playing well for much of the match and unlucky not to take something from the game. He may have noted that the match was a little sloppy at times, with both teams struggling to maintain possession in midfield, but the overall quality of play was high and the match was a great advertisement for the MLS.
One of the key takeaways from this match was the impact of Atlanta’s new signings. Przybylko, who joined the team from the Philadelphia Union in the offseason, looked dangerous throughout the match and was unlucky not to score. Almada, who arrived from Argentine club Estudiantes de La Plata, showed his quality with two excellent goals in the closing minutes of the match. The performance of these new signings bodes well for Atlanta, who will be looking to improve on a disappointing 2022 season.
San Jose will also be encouraged by the performance of their new signing, Carlos Fierro. The Mexican winger looked lively throughout the match and had a good chance to open the scoring in the first half. Fierro’s creativity and pace will be a real asset for the Earthquakes this season, and he could prove to be one of the top signings of the offseason.
Another notable aspect of the match was the performance of the goalkeepers. Both Guzan and Marcinkowski made a number of important saves to keep their teams in the game. Guzan, who has been a stalwart for Atlanta since the team’s inception in 2017, showed why he is still one of the top goalkeepers in the league with a number of impressive stops. Marcinkowski, meanwhile, showed his quality with a number of reflex saves to deny Atlanta’s attacking players.
This was a great start to the 2023 MLS season, and one that promises plenty of excitement and drama in the weeks and months ahead. Both Atlanta and San Jose will be looking to build on this performance, and fans of both teams will be hoping for more of the same in the coming weeks.
The Bottom Line, Atlanta United secured a dramatic 2-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2023 MLS season opener. The match was a lively and entertaining affair, with both teams playing well and creating plenty of chances. Atlanta showed real fighting spirit to come back from a goal down and secure the victory, with Almada’s two late goals sealing the three points for the home team. San Jose will be disappointed to have lost, but will take heart from the performance of their new signing Carlos Fierro and the heroics of goalkeeper JT Marcinkowski. It was a great start to the MLS season, and one that promises plenty of excitement in the weeks and months ahead.