MLS
D.C. UnitedDC
0
FINAL
4
AtlantaATL

DC United 0, Atlanta United 4 | 2020 MLS Match Recap

Atlanta United dominated D.C. United on the road Saturday night, storming to a 4-0 win behind a Jon Gallagher brace and Brooks Lennon masterclass in their largest victory of the 2020 season.

Gallagher’s first arrived in the 4th minute, when he swept home a Lennon cross from the right flank for the 1-0 lead. Lennon then joined the fun himself, lasering home a left-footed shot to the top corner in the 41st minute after collecting a poor D.C. clearance for a 2-0 advantage.

The Five Stripes poured on the goals after halftime, starting with Gallagher’s second in the 65th minute. The Irish midfielder capped off a beautiful tic-tac-toe sequence with Emerson Hyndman and Adam Jahn, making it 3-0.

Atlanta got their fourth in the 70th minute via Jahn, who headed home another Lennon cross from the right flank. The No. 9 was unmarked and made no mistake from eight yards out.

D.C.’s night only got worse in the 85th minute when center back Frederic Brillant was shown a straight red card. He made a last-ditch challenge on Atlanta substitute Manuel Castro, resulting in a direct sendoff – even with defensive partner Steven Birnbaum nearby.

While it won’t appear in the boxscore, D.C.’s empty performance was best personified just after halftime. Head coach Ben Olsen had brought on Russell Canouse as a substitute, though he wasn’t on the official team sheet. Widespread confusion emerged, and Canouse was eventually withdrawn as an illegal substitute.

Goals

  • 4' – ATL – Jon Gallagher | WATCH
  • 41' – ATL – Brooks Lennon | WATCH
  • 65' – ATL – Jon Gallagher | WATCH
  • 70' – ATL – Adam Jahn | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: D.C. United, bottom of the Supporters’ Shield standings, lost their third straight game and are now winless in six. It’s been a rough season in the U.S. capital city, to put it lightly. That shouldn’t downplay Atlanta’s inspired performance, though. The Five Stripes have fallen below their standard in 2020, yet they showed glimpses of the attacking, ruthless soccer that’s captivated MLS since they joined the league four years ago. 
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Some of Atlanta’s goals were fantastic, sure, but social media feeds were dominated by chatter about the substitute confusion just after halftime. Russell Canouse technically wasn’t on the team sheet, yet entered in the 46th minute before flags were raised. The sequence was equal parts confounding and attention-grabbing. Just watch the whole thing yourself.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: We’re going with Brooks Lennon for the goal and two assists, though this easily could’ve gone to Jon Gallagher for his first multi-goal game in MLS. However, Lennon’s strike in the 41st minute was so pure and his two right-footed crosses were precise. The former Real Salt Lake midfielder truly led the way.

Next Up

  • DC: Wednesday, Oct. 7 at New York City FC (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada)
  • ATL: Wednesday, Oct. 7 vs. Orlando City SC (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada)
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“I don’t want to focus too much on what happened with that,” Atlanta head coach Stephen Glass said postgame. “I think they fielded an ineligible player, but it is what it is. And to be honest, I’d rather just move on. I think in the heat of the moment you push for your team and I was thinking Wednesday night and all that stuff coming up. I think it was better for the players to play. I think everybody wants to play. I’d rather just focus on the team performance.”

Here's the official statement from MLS on the events at Audi Field: 

At half time during the match between D.C. United and Atlanta United on Saturday, Oct. 3, D.C. United made a substitution; however, the player who entered the game was not listed on the official match roster. After two minutes and 16 seconds, the match officials recognized the error. The player was immediately removed from the field and replaced by a substitute who was listed on the official match roster. The change which D.C. made at half time still counted against their allocation of substitutes and substitution opportunities.

MLS will further investigate this situation following the conclusion of the match.

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Two Eastern Conference foes badly in need of three points to get out of their current malaise and, attempt to climb above the playoff line, meet at Audi Field Saturday night when D.C. United host Atlanta United.

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