Andre Blake heroics hold Five Stripes
Football

Andre Blake heroics hold Five Stripes


Atlanta United extended their unbeaten run to three matches with a 0-0 draw at home to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.

Coming in off the back of consecutive wins over Toronto FC and Orlando City, the Five Stripes looked confident as they continue to battle their way back into MLS Cup Playoffs contention.

However, for all their endeavor, Atlanta weren’t able to open up the Union. Juan Purata heading a corner off target and Thiago Almada curling an effort from distance just wide represented their best first-half efforts.

After the break, Union goalkeeper Andre Blake was forced to work much harder, keeping out a Brooks Lennon shot and Dom Dwyer’s rebound from close range – with a little help from center-back Jakob Glesnes.

Blake’s best save of the match came right at the end when he stopped a Josef Martinez diving header at the far post, inside his own six-yard box.

Though they’ll be frustrated at only taking a point from the match, Atlanta United can take heart at denying the Union – currently top of the overall standings – a single shot on target and outmatching them 1.26-0.16 in terms of xG. This might well go down as the best performance of the season from Gonzalo Pineda’s men.

Temporarily, at least, Atlanta United are now just a single point adrift of the MLS Cup Playoffs spots. The Union, meanwhile, are three points clear of LAFC in the Supporters’ Shield race but have played one game extra.

Read on for full player ratings from Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

GK: Raul Gudino – 6/10 – Barely had anything to do.

RB: Ronald Hernandez – 7/10 – Provided plenty of energy down the right flank, getting up and down relentlessly.

CB: Juan Purata – 7/10 – Another solid performance from a player quickly looking at home in Atlanta.

CB: Alan Franco – 8/10 – Franco’s improvement recently has been dramatic and this was another near-flawless performance.

LB: Andrew Gutman – 6/10 – Always tried to be positive with the ball, it just didn’t come off for him as much as it has recently.

CM: Santiago Sosa – 8/10 – Another slick performance, pinging the ball all over the field. Also provided a good shield for the Atlanta defense.

CM: Amar Sejdic – 7/10 – It sometimes feels like Sejdic’s decision-making is a second too slow, but he makes up for it with his work rate and refusal to hide from the ball. Very unlucky to hit the post with a shot from distance.

RW: Brooks Lennon – 7/10 – Seems to be enjoying his new role on the wing, where he can get into more crossing positions and test defenders one-on-one.

CAM: Thiago Almada – 6/10 – Showed flashes of brilliance but this was, unfortunately, Almada’s quietest game in a while.

LW: Luiz Araujo – 4/10 – Another frustrating performance. Continues to promise so much but offer so little.

ST: Dom Dwyer – 5/10 – Came so close to scoring shortly after half-time and perhaps should have found the net. Was otherwise reduced to chasing down loose balls and trying to create space for others.

SUB: Ronaldo Cisneros (68′, for Dwyer) – 5/10 – Worked hard but didn’t change the game.

SUB: Edwin Mosquera (68′, for Araujo) – 7/10 – Was like a stick of dynamite from the bench. Totally unpredictable and did everything to take the game to the Union.

SUB: Matheus Rossetto (78′, for Sejdic) – 6/10 – Neat and tidy but nothing spectacular.

SUB: Josef Martinez (78′, for Hernandez) – 6/10 – Came so close to winning the game but his diving header was brilliantly kept out by Andre Blake.

GK: Andre Blake – 9/10 – Came up with a few huge saves to maintain his clean sheet. Man of the Match.

RB: Olivier Mbaizo – 5/10 – Was pinned back for most of the match and struggled to keep Atlanta United at bay.

CB: Jakob Glesnes – 8/10 – Made a huge block to deny Dwyer and was a rock at the heart of the Union defense throughout.

CB: Jack Elliott – 8/10 – Was excellent alongside Glesnes. Nothing got past him.

LB: Kai Wagner – 7/10 – Was put to the test by Hernandez and Lennon but did well.

DM: Jose Martinez – 7/10 – As robust and hard-working as ever. Tried his best to disrupt the flow of Atlanta United’s midfield.

CM: Jack McGlynn – 5/10 – Neat and tidy on the ball, but he’ll certainly have more influential games.

CM: Leon Flach – 6/10 – Had a quiet game in possession but worked relentlessly for his team.

CAM: Daniel Gazdag – 6/10 – Nowhere near the standard we’ve come to expect from Gazdag, but the Hungarian still got under the skin of Atlanta United.

ST: Mikael Uhre – 4/10 – Was snuffed out of the match by Franco and Purata.

ST: Julian Carranza – 6/10 – Very isolated but never stopped running or trying to win the ball for the Union.

SUB: Cory Burke (67′, for Carranza) – 6/10 – A few lively moments but didn’t really scare Atlanta.

SUB: Nathan Harriel (76′, for Mbaizo) – 5/10 – Had a tough time dealing with the lively Mosquera. Gave as good as he got.

SUB: Chris Donovan (87′, for Uhre) – N/A – No time to change the game.





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