After a horrid start, Atlanta United FC defender Leandro González Pirez was strapped to a stretcher and taken off the field in Houston after suffering what appeared to be a hip injury during the season opener.
González Pirez had been examined earlier in the match against the Houston Dynamo when he fell onto the pitch holding his side following a collision with Alberth Elis. After a few minutes on the sideline, he returned. But when he slid to clear the ball away from Atlanta United's box just a few moments later, he remained on the ground holding his right side.
Atlanta United reported his injury as a hip contusion and he is day-to-day. Manager Tata Martino called it a "knock."
"We'll have to see if he needs any imaging done to see if it's anything [doctors] need to look at, but we hope not," Martino said through a translator after the match.
The medical team strapped him onto a stretcher and carried him off as he covered his face. Gonzalez Pirez was replaced by captain Michael Parkhurst in the 39th minute.
González Pirez and the rest of Atlanta United's defense struggled mightily in the first half. Houston led 4-0 at halftime. Atlanta United did not conceive more than three goals in any match last season.
The 26-year-old center back's poor attempt to clear the ball in the opening minutes led to Houston's first goal. He was overpowered by Elis who broke away and crossed the ball to Andrew Wenger for the club's opening goal.