Atlanta United hosted Liga MX side Deportivo Toluca F.C. in the American Family Insurance Cup Wednesday night. The preseason is for ironing out the kinks and preparing for the regular season. Atlanta United’s match against Liga MX side Deportivo Toluca F.C. was less of a warm up and more of a test. A test that the home team failed, losing 4-3.

“I need all of these players to learn from these lessons,” Atlanta United manager Gonzalo Pineda said of the loss during the postgame press conference. “It seems like we are always in a rush.”

A back and forth affair

The first 10 minutes of the match saw Atlanta United dominate play while earning a pair of goals in the process. Despite having taken three shots in goal early on and missing all three, United saw shots from Brooks Lennon in the 15th minute and Luiz Araujo in the 17th minute find the back of the net.

Deportivo Toluca would pull within a goal a few minutes later following a quality strike from forward Ivan Lopez in 19th minute of play.

Machop Cho had a chance to extend the United lead in the 39th minute and his shot clipped the goal post before sailing out of bounds. He was replaced by Jackson Conway in the 43rd minute.

Six minutes of extra time allowed Toluca to even the score following a goal by Sebastian Saucedo which was assisted by Jorge Torres Nilo. The United goalkeeping will be much better when Brad Guzan returns to the pitch. Clement Diop started the second half, replacing Quentin Westberg.

A Luke Brennan goal put United back in front early in the second half before Maxi Araujo tied the game at three on a wonder strike that left Diop flatfooted.

Diop was left without a leg to stand on again as Leo Fernandez’s first-class pass to Camilo Sanvezzo gave Toluca its first lead of the game at 4-3 in the 80th minute.

Ain’t no love

No love has been lost in the rivalry between Liga MX fans and rival Major League Soccer clubs. In the 32nd minute United defender Caleb Wiley had to be escorted off the field after sustaining a head injury during a collision with a Toluca player. Fans of the Mexican club were singing sings while Wiley was writhing in pain on the field.

Bright spot

Reserve midfielder David Mejia came into the game in the 68th minute and was the most impactful United player during his time on the field. A number of younger United players got an opportunity to get minutes tonight. Pineda spoke glowingly of their efforts after the game. Saying the reserves played with “effort” and played “good football against a good side.”

Says a lot about Atlanta

The attendance for Wednesday’s game was 28,849. To get nearly 30,000 in the Benz on a weekday night for a non-league match is more of a testament to Atlanta having become a top tier soccer city.

What’s next

Atlanta United will play at St. Louis Saturday. The match is closed to the public.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...