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Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs Atlanta United FC on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Photo: Har Journalist

VANCOUVER, B.C – Vancouver Whitecaps FC were no match for high flying Atlanta United FC. On his 49th birthday, Atlanta coach Frank De Boer’s side earned a 1 – nil victory over Vancouver. Josef Martinez converted from the spot, and Brad Guzan made two saves to earn his MLS leading 6th clean sheet of the season. A paltry crowd of 16,138 was on hand to see Whitecaps FC’s two-match winning streak come to an end.

“I’m very proud of the team,” De Boer said post-match. “It’s a long trip, short period in between those two legs. I think we started off a little bit sloppy. With passes lacking concentration, but after 20 minutes we took the control a little bit. In the second half we were even more concentrated, and at the end I think the best team won. But it was still tense at the end, as it was only 1-0 and we could’ve ended the game a number of times before.”

Atlanta’s five-match winning streak remains in tact as they improve to 6-3-2, 15-points. Coach Marc Dos Santos, Whitecaps FC side slip to 3-6-3, 11-points on the campaign.

“They came with a plan to hit us in transition where they have players that are very dangerous,” Dos Santos said post-match. “They are quick to attack the space. I thought that when we had possession, we spent a lot of time in their half, but couldn’t find any kind of opening. I have to give credit to Atlanta, I think they did a very good job in their defensive organization, it showed as this is their fifth game in a row they did not concede. The disappointing part is that I thought overall the game was equal.”

Brek Shea made his return to Vancouver to take on his former club. He recieved a mixture of cheers and boo’s from fans during player introductions. Shea had a solid performance at left-back, and helped Atlanta steal three points on the road.

“It was good, we got three points,” Shea shared his match thoughts with Har Journalist. “What can we say. I think we started a little slow, but we got the goal in the first half, and we won the game. All is good.”

The visitors opened the scoring in the 29′ minute after Whitecaps FC’s, Lass Bangoura knocked Atlanta’s Pity Martinez to the ground inside the Vancouver box. Referee, Baldomero Toledo was quick in his decision to point to the spot for a penalty.

Josef Martinez stepped up and smashed home the penalty for his team leading 5th goal of the season. Whitecaps FC opponents have converted all seven successful penalties this season.

For the fourth consecutive home match, Whitecaps FC supporters, Curva Collective, and the Southsiders staged a walk out in the 35′ minute. An already quiet B.C. Place, was even more quiet after fans walked out in protest.

Just as Atlanta was pressing for a second goal, Whitecaps FC’s, Max Crepeau has other idea. The Caps was in perfect position to deny Tito Villalba, Crepeau rebounded to stop Eric Remedi after he was setup by Josef Martinez. Pity Martinez followed up with a diving header only to be turned aside by Crepeau’s acrobatics saves.

“You know, it is just ball watch,” Crepeau explained his technique. “First action is the counter attack on the corner kick, Villalba was running at me and I just tried to close the angle well and the second save is just…ah, I don’t even know quite well, I’m just trying…I just remember that I focus one ball at a time, that’s it. I said often when I spoke to you guys but it’s one ball at a time, you focus and I’m happy that I kept the team in the game and give a chance to actually tag and win, but it’s disappointing to get no points right now.”

Vancouver looked absolutely gassed. They just weren’t in the match from the opening whistle. Atlanta United FC had pace, flair, and just enough to earn a road victory. Whitecaps FC will look to bounce back on Saturday, May 18, when they visit Sporting Kansas City.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Starting XI: Max Crepeau, Ali Adnan, Doneil Henry, Erik Godoy, Jake Nerwinski; Russell Teibert, 69 (Andy Rose), Felipe, 77 (Joaquin Ardaiz), InBeom Hwang; Lass Bangoura, 64 (PC) Fredy Montero(C), Lucas Venuto. 4-3-3

Atlanta United FC Starting XI: Brad Guzan, Brek Shea, Florentin Pogba, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Franco Escobar; Jeff Larentowicz, Eric Remedi; Pitty Martinez, 82 (Miles Robinson(; Justin Meram, 63 (Julian Gressel), Tito Villalba, 69 (Dion Pereira) Josef Martinez. 4-2-3-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

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