Goal Breakdown: Atlas FC 9-7-19

My wife and I work at a local farm helping out with weddings and unfortunately we had agreed to work a wedding the day of the Atlas match. Twatching one of the biggest wins in City history while also dealing with a bunch of drunk people was definitely not how I wanted to spend my Saturday. What this means however is that I got to do a full watch of the match at my computer and take a lot more detailed notes. I really hope that you are ready for a wall of text and videos and let me know if you prefer the short posts or these more detailed ones.

The TL;DR version. City held their own against a really good team through good individual and team play and were able to take advantage of chances that they created.

DCFC 1 ATLAS 0 3′ G: Ryan Peterson A: Richard Bryan

Opening minutes of the match and Atlas FC and Detroit City FC are feeling each other out. After some initial pin ball Tendai Jirira gains possession and plays it across to Cyrus Saydee. Saydee takes a couple dribbles and plays the ball to Bakie Goodman.

Goodman plays the ball up the field but quickly realizes he won’t get very far and is able to get the ball back to Jirira who in turn plays it to Cyrus and then back to Stephen Carroll to reset the attack.

Saydee really seems to be the focus of City’s initial game plan and his pass up the wing to an open Richard Bryan provides good context for why.

Bryan dribbles the ball towards the center of the field and plays the short pass to Ryan Peterson. Peterson gets a toe on the ball and immediately turns and fires. It looks like the keeper gets a late read on the ball due to his defenders positioning and the shot beats him to the near post to shock the visitors an put City up 1-0.

Defensive Effort and Atlas Control

After this first goal Atlas begin to control the ball and start trying to work for a goal. The City back line played absolutely incredible in this game and kept the ball in between themselves and the goal. Carroll and Jalen Crisler both won almost every 1 on 1 battle and didn’t let Atlas get an easy shot off.

Crisler dribbles up the field but is caught from behind and has the ball poked out. Atlas look to have a break and Crisler is left trying to get back into position.

James Vaughan comes out to challenge the ball and City is able to get numbers back to cover the Atlas attack.

Atlas maintain control of the ball and passes it around until they are able to create a nice little one two play getting him behind Vaughan.

Vaughan does well to recover and City is able to swarm the ball and force a clearance. This really is the theme of the first half, Atlas really controlled possession but were constantly surrounded by City players and not able to generate any great chances.

A little while later Atlas are still controlling the ball. The Atlas player pass the ball to the middle of the field and begins what looks like a one two pass. However the central player plays it off the side of his foot who in turn makes the connecting pass back to the original player making his run. Vaughan does well to recognize the play and is able to recover and get his boot on the ball and towards the City keeper.

DCFC 1 ATLAS 1 18′ G: Facundo Barcelo

Ball is played back to the Atlas keeper who plays it to his one center back and Atlas is really beginning to push players forward.

The most impressive thing I saw watching this match is Atlas’ accuracy on long passing. In 3 passes they are able to go from the top of the penalty box to inside City’s half, then a perfect ball over the head of Jirira to the right outside corner of the penalty box.

The Atlas player drives the ball across the box to a waiting attacker who chests the ball and gets in a juggling match with Bryan. The Atlas player does a great job getting his boot to the ball around Bryan and the to foot of an unmarked Facundo Barcelo who redirects the ball into the back of the net tying the game at 1 a piece.

DCFC Counters and Chances for Atlas

While City did not dominate the time of possession they were still able to create some really good chances by taking advantage of quick restarts and quick one touch passing. Nate Steinwascher quickly restarts on a goal kick up to Bryan. Bryan passes up to Saydee who one touches it to Peterson.

Peterson plays the ball to Yazeed Matthews who lays it off for Bryan making a long run up the side line. Matthews defender lays off him to help cover Bryan. Bryan plays the one two back to Matthews who may have been able to get a shot on goal if he was able to strike it on the first touch but the defender is able to stay in front of him and block the shot. That one two between Matthews and Bryan is a great play to get someone free in the box.

The passing for Atlas again creates a chance for Atlas. Carroll is chipped by a nifty pass that leads to an Atlas player in a dangerous position in the box and some breathing room as Carroll works to recover.

Crisler does well to position himself in front of the attacking player and forces the him to play it back to the top of the box. At this point City have been able to recover and get numbers back. Atlas takes a shot but both Vaughan and Diego Casielles are there to block it and City clears the resulting deflection to relieve the pressure.

The ball may take a deflection off Casielles’ arm but it feels like a good no call.

Long ball on a counter leaves Crisler one on one with his man. Crisler does a good staying in position and not getting too aggressive. The Atlas player looks to possibly either play the ball to the attacker on the far side of the field or shoot but it ends up hitting his team-mate creating an awkward situation for City.

Crisler and Carroll both dive in front of the shot and allow City to recover.

Crisler and Carroll both putting their body on the line to prevent the shot on goal.

I am including this because it is a great save by Steinwascher to direct the ball over the net on what looks like would be a goal.


In addition to clipping plays I also kept track of time of possession for the game. The first half saw Atlas dominate the ball but a lot of it was passing around the back and trying to find a way towards goal. City seemed content to let them play this way and push for quick counters to punish how aggressive Atlas was getting with their positioning.

1st HalfAtlas FCDCFC

DCFC 2 ATLAS 1 58′ G: Yazeed Matthews A: Ryan Peterson

Play begins again from Steninwascher in the back up to Crisler. Crisler plays it up to Vaughan who one touches it to Bryan. Bryan then plays the ball up the touch line to Ryan Peterson.

Peterson plays the ball up the side and then plays a ball into the box for Casielles. I am not sure if he gets a piece of it but it looks like Casielles lets the ball go between his legs and it bounces right in front of Matthews. Matthews takes the shot off the volley and beats the recovering goal keeper to the far side of the net. City is now up 2 to 1 on a Liga MX club and just has to hold on to notch the biggest win in club history in their belt.

Continued High Level Play

This next segment has it all, good defensive play from Crisler, some nifty moves from Jirira, and more high level play from everyone else. Crisler is able to intercept a dangerous pass and win the ball. Jirira then makes a great dummy turn and lines up a pass Goodman.

The ball is then played around the back and City maintain possession while Atlas works hard to regain the ball.

Goodman receives a pass and gives his man a nice little move to get around him and the field opens up. The ball is played up to Jirira who crosses the ball to Matthews. The ball just has a little too much pace and Matthews diving attempt on goal goes a little wide. City very much are showing that they are not content sitting back and letting play come to them, they are still creating chances and putting pressure on Atlas.

A long ball is able to find an Atlas attacker streaking in between Carroll and Crisler. Both players do well to get back into a good defensive position and Carroll is able to get in and win the ball back.

I am turning into the biggest fan of Ryan Peterson. He has a ton of speed and has created a lot of opportunities for City since joining the club. Also there are a couple times a game where he is able to chase down a back pass and get in the keepers face and make things uncomfortable for them. In previous games this has led to poor passing and getting the ball back for City. I am willing to bet that he will manage to score a goal from either deflecting a keeper clearance or straight up taking the ball before the season is out.

Atlas is again able to create a chance through some nice passing and Carroll is left stranded trying to defend two possible players. After the pass he immediately takes off and make a great diving tackle to deflect the ball out of bounds. Armando Quezeda may have had a play on the ball but the tackle from Carroll eliminated the chance and prevented the attacker being one on one with the keeper.

At this point Atlas really began pushing for a goal and taking more chances with their passing. City were doing well to limit the opportunities and breaking up the attack.

A throw in for Atlas leads to a pick and intentional high shoulder on Casielles who is left catching up to the ball. He tracks down the attacker and gets close to the attacker and sticks out his leg to slow up the game and let City reset and also possibly blow off some steam after that shoulder check. The Atlas player immediately jumps up and swings on him. The only reason I can think that the Atlas player wasn’t shown a red was because he didn’t connect on his swing.


City never seemed over matched in this game and went toe to toe with a starting lineup earning close to $14m. If City can continue this level of play over the remainder of the Members Cup I don’t see a reason why they couldn’t win the whole thing. While Atlas continued to maintain control of possession in the second half it wasn’t as lopsided as the first. This probably had more to do with Atlas pushing the ball and making riskier passes than anything else but City were able to keep them off the ball and limit their chances.

This write up took a significant amount of work. Depending on the games I may do this length in the future but would appreciate some feedback on what you would prefer to see from these recaps in the future.

2nd HalfAtlas FCDCFC
GameAtlas FCDCFC

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