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Red Letter Day for Cincy, Red Card Day for Atlanta

Atlanta on the brink...

MLS: FC Cincinnati at Atlanta United FC
Atlanta’s Jake Mulraney gets a red card (2 yellows) in the 26th minute of his team’s 0-1 defeat by Cincinnati. A second red was to follow for JJ Williams in the dying seconds.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United are on the brink of elimination from the MLS-is-Back tournament after losing a second successive game 0-1.

There was joy for Cincinnati and an early birthday gift for new boss, Jaap Stam, after suffering a 0-4 opening game drubbing at the hands of Columbus Crew.

Now a draw in Cincy’s last game against the Red Bulls should ensure progress to the round of 16. Atlanta must now win their final encounter with Columbus, or face an early trip home.

Head coach Frank de Boer looked concerned but calm as his ten men battled to claw back Frankie Amaya’s 76th minute strike, but the game was finally up when JJ Williams, an 83rd minute substitute, kicked out at Kendall Waston with seconds of added time remaining.

Williams joined Mulraney in receiving marching orders, this time though, it was a straight red.

The Five Stripes thought they had a penalty in the 50th minute, but while there was a foul, Barco’s cleats had strayed offside in the build-up, as confirmed by VAR.

This is the greatest result in FC Cincinnati’s short history. Contrastingly, it’s the first time-ever Atlanta United has failed to score in back-to-back MLS matches! They’ve now failed to score for 305 minutes, including their 0-3 Champions League defeat to Club America in the Azteca, prior to lockdown.

Star striker Josef Martinez remains sidelined by a torn ACL. It would appear he’s being sorely missed.