Atlanta United FC was humbled.
The Five Stripes, who burst onto the MLS scene last season and made it to the playoffs in its first year, looked completely out of sorts in their 2018 debut.
Atlanta United FC conceded four goals in the first half to lose 4-0 to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday.
After big moves in the offseason that included acquiring Darlington Nagbe and paying a record $15 million for the rights for Ezequiel Barco-- who is out 4-6 weeks with a quad injury-- Atlanta United was largely hailed as one of the MLS Cup favorites going into the season.
The hype may have caught up to them.
There were a few critical missed chances early on offense, and overall there was no chemistry. Miguel Almiron missed wide on a cross from Josef Martinez. Almiron tried to use his left foot. It was a vastly different scene from the ones fans came to know from last season's MLS Newcomer of the Year.
Set pieces were an issue for the Five Stripes throughout with ineffective corners and crosses. Almiron hit the post on a penalty kick in the second half, keeping Atlanta United scoreless in its first regular season match.
Andrew Wegner scored first for the Dynamo after Atlanta United's back line failed to clear the ball away successfully.
The defense struggled for much of the game. Philippe Senderos received a long cross and scored on the header that went whizzing by Brad Guzan. Four minutes later, Mauro Manotas scored on a ball deflected towards him as newly acquired defender Franco Escobar attempted to clear it away.
Darwin Ceren capped the scoring in the first half by knocking in a ball that Guzan couldn't handle. He scored during the 7 minutes of stoppage time in the first half to extend the lead to four.
Leandro González Pirez left the game with an injury after falling to the pitch in agony twice.
Houston looks to be building off last season's success. They came up just shy of making it to the MLS Cup after falling to Seattle in the Western Conference finals.
The Dynamo had the second-most wins at home last season in MLS with 12 and the third-most home goals with 43.