Atlanta 3, Crew SC 1 | Crew can't counter Atlanta's strengths in lossThe Columbus Dispatch — Andrew Erickson The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio
June 18--Crew SC had plenty of chances to score against Atlanta United on Saturday night, coach Gregg Berhalter said.
He saw a team that played passes crisply in offensive transition in the first half and one that put itself in position to score on multiple occasions before halftime.
But the Crew pushed through just one goal on the night and made a few key mistakes on defense in a 3-1 loss to Atlanta at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Berhalter explained the danger of Atlanta United's attack earlier this week in no uncertain terms: Speed in transition and Miguel Almiron dribbling.
Both sank the Crew in a second-half goal that turned the tide for Atlanta.
Leandro Gonzalez Pirez found Almiron on the run in the 67th minute. Almiron dribbled to just outside the box before unleashing a shot under center back Josh Williams and past goalkeeper Zack Steffen far post for the go-ahead goal.
"We had enough opportunities. Having said that, I'm not pleased with the way we played. It wasn't us. It wasn't the identifiable, ball-secure team," Berhalter said. "Two of their goals came on us losing the ball on our defensive end and we're better than that."
Josef Martinez added the latter of those two goals in the 88th minute, taking advantage of a Mohammed Abu giveaway to give Atlanta (6-6-3) a two-goal cushion and send the Crew (7-9-1) to its fourth loss in five MLS games.
A defeat dropped the Crew to 2-7-0 on the road and added to the sting of a week that also included a loss to FC Cincinnati in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup.
Berhalter was at times self-critical in his analysis of Crew SC's performance Saturday, admitting he needs to do a better job of explaining to players exactly what he'd like them to do in his system.
"If I have a vision of how we want us to play, I need to a better job of communicating that because for large parts of the game I didn't see what we were looking for and that's an issue," he said.
Atlanta struck first with a Hector Villalba goal off a Josh Williams giveaway near the top of the box in the 16th minute. Crew SC drew even in the 26th on Federico Higuain's sixth goal of the season.
Crew SC returns home next Saturday to face the Montreal Impact. Until then, the Crew will try to get back to basics.
"We're proud of who we are, we're proud that we can adapt, but we also need to know the fundamentals, the basis of our formation and how we want to play," Berhalter said.
Man of the match: Miguel Almiron, MF, Atlanta United: Scored the go-ahead goal in the 67th minute.
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