With the 2020 MLS season on temporary hold, SportingKC.com is taking daily strolls down memory lane with an "On This Day" web series that celebrates memorable moments in team history. As one of Major League Soccer's proud charter members, Sporting has a decorated past full of thrilling victories, amazing goals, momentous off-the-field developments and more. "On This Day" pays tribute to these specific instances, turning back the clocks while treating fans to nostalgia and club history lessons. To catch up on the series as it unfolds, visit SportingKC.com/OnThisDay.
Rarely do MLS clubs enter Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and live to tell the tale with fond recollection.
That was especially the case in 2018 when, under the guidance of head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino and bolstered by a star-studded squad featuring league MVP Josef Martinez and playmaker Miguel Almiron, the Five Stripes stormed to the 2018 MLS Cup title in just their second year of existence.
But Atlanta’s championship season didn’t come without a rare blip on home turf. That setback came two years ago today at the hands of Sporting Kansas City, who made an empathic statement on May 9 with a 2-0 shutout victory at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a matchup of the top two teams in the Supporters’ Shield standings at the time.
Daniel Salloi and Gerso Fernandes bagged second-half goals, goalkeeper Tim Melia stood on his head throughout the night, and Sporting emerged with three well-deserved points against an Atlanta side that has averaged an absurd 2.7 goals per game at their palatial home venue dating back to 2017.
To this day, Atlanta has failed to score at Mercedes-Benz Stadium just once in its regular season history. It remains an impressive feather in the cap for Melia, who finished with eight saves and left the 44,696 in attendance gasping in disbelief over the course of 90 minutes.
Atlanta dominated in the early stages—Melia was a busy man, to be sure—but the game’s complexion changed drastically in the 34th minute when Atlanta keeper Brad Guzan was sent off for chopping Khiry Shelton to the turf on a breakaway. Salloi separated the sides with a 67th-minute stunner and Gerso doubled the lead on a quick-fire counter attack to seal the result.
Melia was heroic in the dying embers of the match, producing near-identical saves to deny free kick specialist Kevin Kratz in the 83rd and 86th minutes before touching an Almiron curler onto the woodwork.