Caleb Porter was left to rue basic mistakes from his Columbus Crew side as they lost to D.C. United, meaning they head to Atlanta United needing to snap a two-match losing streak.
After losing just once in 10 games, reigning MLS champions Columbus conceded four goals for the second match running as they went down 4-2 to D.C. last time out.
Porter’s team sit seventh in the East, 10 points behind leaders New England Revolution, though they have chance to turn their form around against an Atlanta team without a win in 12 matches.
“The story of the game is we gifted them four goals, it’s that simple,” Porter said after the loss to D.C.
“All four of the goals were transitions, nothing that was surprising. They played the same system they always play and we prioritized transitions in the last two days and all four goals came from transition.
“Two of the four we literally got caught on the ball and gave them goals. You’re not going to see poorer goals in our sport. It happens, we’ve got good players, I have confidence and faith in them but it’s really hard to win a game giving away goals like that.”
In an attempt to rejuvenate their season, Atlanta completed the signing of forward Luis Araujo from French champions Lille on Friday.
“Luiz is a player with great drive, a winning mentality, and is coming to us from a top club in Europe that just won their league,” vice President and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said.
“He has experience in big games, as well as UEFA Champions League and Europa League. We’re looking forward to him making an impact with the club.”
Araujo scored four Ligue 1 goals in 28 appearances last term.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Atlanta United – Diego Moreno
Diego Moreno scored the equalizer from the spot as Atlanta fought back to draw 2-2 with CF Montreal in midweek. The Argentine is the Five Stripes’ top scorer this season with five goals.
Columbus Crew – Kevin Molino
In his seventh appearance since joining from Minnesota United, Kevin Molino opened his Crew account in the 4-2 defeat to D.C.
KEY OPTA FACTS
·Columbus has won five straight matches against Atlanta United, the first team to do so in Atlanta’s MLS history. The Crew lost the first four regular season meetings between the sides.
·The Crew lost for just the second time in its last 27 home matches (W19 D6) on Wednesday in a 4-2 defeat to D.C. United. It was the first time the Crew allowed four goals in a home match since a 4-4 draw against Montreal in May 2016.
·Atlanta United came from 2-0 down to draw, 2-2, at CF Montréal on Wednesday, though their club record winless run extended to 12 games (D7 L5). Atlanta has failed to win any of the last five matches in which it scored more than one goal (D4 L1) after failing to win just four of the previous 35 games in which it scored two or more goals (W31 D1 L3) dating back to August 2018.
·Darlington Nagbe completed 71-of-72 pass attempts against D.C. United on Wednesday, taking his passing accuracy rate to 96.5 percent for the season. He’s on pace to have the best passing accuracy in an MLS regular season since 2010 (minimum 500 passes), surpassing his own mark of 95.0 percent last season.
·Both Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez and Montreal’s Rudy Camacho scored and were sent off in the 2-2 draw between the sides on Wednesday. It was the second time opponents both scored and were sent off in a single match after Brad Evans (Seattle) and Pedro Morales (Vancouver) in October 2016.