Atlanta United triumphed 5-2 over Inter Miami at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday night, handing the Herons their first loss in this new era.
Miami kicked off stronger, as Campana, Facundo Farias and Dixon Arroyo led the attack to pose a constant threat to Atlanta United’s backline. The midfielder inspired the first goal, rocketing a right-footed shot from just outside the box to the top corner of the post before Campana found the rebound and sent it past goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
But Miami’s euphoria didn’t last long, as Atlanta United wasted no time in scoring the equalizer. After working his way through the right, Brooks Lennon found Tristan Muyumba inside the box for the header but the ball hit the post and bounced into the hands of goalkeeper Drake Callendar.
Though he eventually made the save, VAR proved the ball had actually crossed the line and counted as a goal for Atlanta United in what can be considered the most controversial point of the match.
The Five Stripes used the excitement of the equalizer to build momentum on the attack and find the back of the net twice again in the first half. But the home side had a bit of help from Miami in their second goal, as Kamal Miller deflected Xande Silva’s shot into the goal making it impossible for Callendar to save.
Finally, Lennon topped off the score in the first half with a right-footed shot from the center of the box to the lower left corner.
And the action continued immediately after the whistle, after a handball propelled Campana to score the team’s second from the penalty spot. Miami retained the majority of possession following the goal, but failed to capitalize on any opportunity.
Giorgos Giakoumakis and Tyler Wolff later made the Herons regret missing any shots on goal, getting two more goals in before the final whistle to seal the score at 5-2.
GK: Drake Callender – 4/10 – Showed too many weaknesses throughout the game, and slow to too many saves. The first, and controversial, goal could’ve been avoided.
RB: DeAndre Yedlin – 5/10 – The left was completely exposed, and inspired Atlanta to capitalize on that in the first half. Two of the three goals came from the left.
CB: Tomas Aviles – 6/10 – Didn’t make glaring mistakes like his teammates, but failed to provide any type of stability at the back.
CB: Kamal Miller – 3/10 – Didn’t serve the purpose of a defender and scored an own goal in the first half. Altogether a terrible performance.
LB: Noah Allen – 7/10 – Lacks the quality needed to be a started, quite average at the moment.
CM: Dixon Arroyo – 7/10 – Inspired the first Miami goal, but then declined in energy to force a substitution.
CM: Sergio Busquets – 7.5/10 – Delivered another expected perfomance, nothing special or outstanding. Lacked the necessary players around him to push forward and inspire something in the attack.
CM: Benjamin Cremaschi – 7/10 – Faded into the background too often, letting Atlanta overpower. An overwhelming performance given his potential.
RW: Robert Taylor – 7/10 – Didn’t pose the necessary threat needed on the attack.
ST: Leonardo Campana – 9/10 – Another great performance in the absence of Messi. Scored the opening goal and penalty while constantly being a threat on the attack.
LW: Facundo Farias – 7/10 – An extremely creative player, but was toned down against Atlanta when the team needed him most. A player who needs space in the attack, but couldn’t find it.
RW: Nicolás Marcelo Stefanelli (69′ for Robert Taylor) – 6/10 – Neither helped nor hindered.
CM: David Ruiz (69′ for Dixon Arroyo) – /10 – Converted his attempt during the shootout.
CM: Robbie Robinson (79′ for Benjamin Cremaschi) – 4/10 – Immediately beat in the midfield to allow the fourth goal.
CB: Serhiy Kryvtsov (83′ for Tomás Avilés) – NA
ST: Josef Martinez (83′ for Leonardo Campana – NA
Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino – 6/10 – Set up a decent starting 11, given the absences of Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba but exposed weaknesses as a manager as the game progressed. Failed to make any adjustments after being down by two goals at the half, and later made slight decisions in the midfield that cost Miami a couple goals.
The Lionel Messi era is officially underway – watch live as history unfolds with MLS Season Pass. Click here to subscribe!