Gonzalo Pineda admits Atlanta United must 'reflect' after defeat to FC Cincinnati

  • Atlanta were unable to build on their 1-0 lead at home against Cincinnati
  • The defeat marked the second straight game Atlanta scored first at home but were unable to win
  • The team will now prepare to take on Chicago Fire at Soldier Field next Saturday
The Five Stripes fell to FC Cincinnati
The Five Stripes fell to FC Cincinnati / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United boss Gonzalo Pineda admitted that his side must "reflect" after throwing away three points at home for the second straight weekend.

The Eastern Conference club were coming off a 2-2 draw at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against Philadelphia Union last Saturday, in which the team threw away a two-goal lead in front of their supporters. Atlanta missed chances to put the Union away and nearly left the contest without a single point if Mikael Uhre's second goal of the game wasn't chalked off for offside.

Going into the most recent matchday, the Five Stripes were hoping on avoiding another late collapse at the Benz against FC Cincinnati. Despite a sluggish start in the first half that saw Cincinnati amass 12 total shots to Atlanta's six, the hosts managed to take the lead in the 59th minute thanks to a curling effort from star Thiago Almada.

What came next was Atlanta in a nutshell: the Five Stripes conceded three minutes later and then reigning MLS MVP Lucho Acosta got on the scoresheet to turn the game around in the Orange and Blue's favor. This theme was prevalent in the back-end of the 2023 campaign, as Atlanta would race out to early leads before crumbling at the end to drop points - especially on the road.

"Well just as players I think we as coaches also will reflect," Pineda said after the defeat. "I gave a very similar speech in the locker room about wanting to learn about how to consolidate these advantages two times in a row facing two fantastic teams, Philadelphia and Cincinnati, two of the top teams in the league, and for many moments, we were handling it better. This game was a bit more even.

"So, I want to first of all say that Cincinnati deserves the three points and they're a great team, they played very good tonight, there was a real, real challenge tactically as well. But also, mentally, I think some of the tools they've won had made the difference at times, but tactically was challenging for everyone. And they do a good job. So congrats to Pat and his team, they deserved the three points."

Gonzalo Pineda
Atlanta suffered defeat at home for the first time this season / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

As Almada put Atlanta in front with roughly 30 minutes left to play, Pineda explained that his team just couldn't find another goal to put the game out of reach for the visitors.

"After that, we were winning 1-0, it was so difficult to get to get a goal. We had a few chances and had one very clear chance in the first half and then a couple, Edwin Mosquera in the first half, when that first touch should have been better, maybe we would've scored the goal," he said.

"Then the second half another one from Saba, and a very good ball from Tristan, and then we couldn't score those goals. And then finally we scored that goal. It was an even game and we scored that goal and right after is just lack of understanding how to solidify getting the result."

The first home defeat of 2024 for Atlanta has them seated in seventh place in the Eastern Conference table with 11 points after eight games played. Pineda's side will take the field again this Saturday to take on Chicago Fire at Solider Field.