MLS Daily: Late heartbreak for Atlanta.

It was almost a winning start in MLS for Gerardo Martino’s men. 

It was a famous night in the state of Georgia which nearly ended in ecstasy for the home fans.

Argetine midfielder Yamil Asad scored Atlanta’s first ever goal in MLS after 25 minutes with a first time finish at the back post from Tyrone Mears’ cross.

For a majority of the match, the home side seemed comfortably against a well-organised New York Red Bulls team.

Atlanta, who are coached by former Barcelona and Argentina boss Martino, were just 18 minutes away from victory before the visitors equalised through Daniel Royer.

The home team would have probably taken a point at the start of the evening, but even that was cruelly taken away from them when the unfortunate Anton Walkes put the ball into his own net.

With Atalanta pushing for a late equaliser, Carlos Carmona lost his cool and the Spaniard was sent off for violent conduct to end any chance of a comeback for the home team.

Martino however was pleased with his team’s performance and told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution afterwards: “We were much closer to converting a second goal then they were to equalise.

“They managed to turn the score around but I think we had started to control the game again up until they scored that leveller.”

“We want to be a team that is very aggressive and quickly win the ball back when we lose it. The message we want to put out there is that we are a team that is very comfortable in this league and is excited to represent the city.”

Goalscorer Asad added: “It was a joy to score (Atlanta’s first ever MLS goal). I’m very excited to be a part of the club’s history, but I’m unhappy that we lost. We still have a lot of things to work on.”

Red Bulls’ playmaker Sacha Kljestan, who was made club captain during the off-season, said: “Atlanta seem to be doing a lot of things right.

“Their training facility is top-notch and the atmosphere of the stadium with the fans was amazing. Atlanta as a team are very good- I think they will do pretty well this season.”

Jesse Marsch, Head Coach of the New York Red Bulls, praised the mentality of his team but was also full of praise for the opposition.

“Atlanta tested us in big way in the first half  but we hung in there,” he said.

“At half-time, we asked the players to put a little bit more effort in and be a little bit clearer tactically. I thought for the most part we did that.

The effort in the second half  was really good, and it was a great comeback. There is a lot of spirit within this team.”

Elsewhere last night, Orlando kicked off their new season with a 1-0 win over New York City FC.

Cyle Larin scored the only goal of the game, as Orlando opened their new stadium with victory.

Vancouver Whitecaps could only draw 0-0 at home to Philadelphia Union.