Man of the match
— MenInRed97 (@meninred97) April 23, 2023
With Gastón Giménez and Federico Navarro only fit enough to make a 30-minute cameo in the 2nd half, Guti was started in the Fire’s double pivot. While Guti is an exceptional advanced playmaker and a true number 10, the 19-year-old performed very well in the double pivot. His energy when pressing defensively forced lots of Atlanta giveaways and was able to help the Fire win back possession in dangerous areas of the pitch.
Guti’s two most notable moments of the first half were his through balls to Maren Haile-Selassie and Kei Kamara which created the Fire’s two best scoring chances of the half. Guti’s ball over the top put Haile-Selassie in a position to try and lob Atlanta goalkeeper Quentin Westberg. The slightest tip off of Westberg’s fingertips saw the ball land in the netting just above the crossbar, resulting in a corner kick. Minutes later in the half, Guti threaded a ball through the Atlanta defense that put Kei Kamara one on one with Westberg. Kamara however made a little bit of a mess of the chance as he couldn’t quite sort his feet out and had his effort saved by Westberg.
Guti started the 2nd half strong before being moved into the number 10 role around the 60th-minute mark. With Gastón and Fede behind him and the Fire chasing the game, Guti was given much-needed freedom to operate in more dangerous areas of the pitch. The Fire’s pressure continued in the 2nd half and Guti capitalized on another Atlanta mistake in the back. Grabbing Kacper Przybyłko’s rebound, he was able to thread the needle inside the box to find Kacper, who slotted in the equalizer in the 90th minute.