It was a disappointing game for Atlanta in Monterrey. A clearly superior side in all respects, Monterrey were not only the favorites for this match, but are also arguably the favorites for the competition as a whole. Coming off of a 2-0 loss to D.C. United over the weekend, Atlanta needed to bounce back. It was unclear what Frank De Boer’s approach was going to be in terms of personnel and tactics. De Boer opted for a 3-4-3, with an interchangeable back 5.
Monterrey took the early lead in the 17th minute from the penalty spot after a push by Leandro González Pírez on Dorlan Pabón. Monterrey continued to create chances but could not capitalize for the rest of the first half, while Atlanta’s attack was kept quiet. In the second half, Atlanta managed to get more passes together and attack as a unit, but were unable to cause any real difficulties for the Monterrey defense. Pity Martínez was perhaps the most lively out of the front three of himself, Josef Martínez, and Ezequiel Barco, but was fouled and brought down multiple times by the Monterrey players. The Mexican team then went on to score in the 80th and 84th minute, the first being a fantastic effort from Pabón from the top of the box, and the third goal a cross into the penalty area finished off by Jesús Gallardo, where the United defense simply switched off.
It was a frustrating night for Josef Martínez, who was isolated up top, and Ezequiel Barco was similarly unable to generate any real attacking threat. Eric Remedi and Darlington Nagbe looked much too contained in the middle of the pitch, and were fatigued by the end of the match. Julian Gressel and Franco Escobar were clearly missed, as the 4 in the midfield provided little to no width and attacking penetration. Make-shift wingbacks Brek Shea and Mikey Ambrose had forgettable performances.
While a 3-0 is a tough result to swallow, Monterrey are one of the biggest teams in North America, and it is clear that De Boer’s system is not implemented fully. It will most likely take weeks if not months until De Boer implements his style in the team. Hopefully, Atlanta’s attack begins to click and the team gets back to winning ways.
- Brad Guzan 5/10
- Michael Parkhurst 5.5/10
- Miles Robinson 7/10
- Leandro González Pírez 4.5/10
- Brek Shea 5.5/10
- Eric Remedi 6/10
- Darlington Nagbe 6/10
- Mikey Ambrose 5/10
- Pity Martínez 7/10
- Josef Martínez 5/10
- Ezequiel Barco 5/10