Never let your foot off the gas.
After a red card in the 13th minute reduced Philadelphia to 10 players, the Beat scored just before halftime to go ahead. But Atlanta conceded two goals in the second half and fell 2-1 before an announced crowd of 6,125 on Sunday at KSU Soccer Stadium.
The crowd was a league-wide season high for Women's Professional Soccer.
"It was tough," said coach James Galanis, whose Beat suffered their third straight defeat. "I think we deserved to lose to be honest. We didn't play with fear. We put the ball on the ground, played with confidence, passed the ball around and we moved off the ball. We defended as unit and we basically did what we wanted to achieve - in the first half anyway.
"Next week, we want to put two good halves in, hopefully. Nothing against Philly, they did great, but we let them get away. We should have come out and taken it to them and just finished the game off early in the second half, but we didn't. We let it linger and we suffered."
Atlanta (1-4-1) remained winless in five matches against Philadelphia - three losses and two draws. The Beat, who now embark on a three-game road trip, have conceded nine goals since their last win April 16.
As the Beat walked off the field disappointed, the Independence (2-1-1) may have walked off a changed team.
"I think last year we came back a couple of times from two goals down. It doesn't happen very often in the WPS," Philadelphia coach Paul Riley said. "I think, if you are trying to find out what your team is made of, you need that defining moment of the season. Usually, it doesn't come this early in a season, but I thought this was a defining moment. (The Beat) dominated the first half and we looked to be in serious trouble at halftime."
Riley also stood impressed with the Kennesaw crowd. The attendance figure was the Beat's largest since they drew 7,248 in their home opener last season. The previous WPS season high was the 4,158 Boston drew to its home opener.
"It looked like they were giving away meat pies or fish and chips," Riley said. "I think it was a great crowd for women's soccer really. You've got national TV and a big crowd for Atlanta. I think it's a great place to come. This is what the league is all about.
"I'd rather play here every week than play at our place."
With the large crowd in place, all it took was some early action to get them to come alive.
In the 12th minute, on a through ball from the midfield, Atlanta's Meghan Lenczyk made a run toward the near post, only to be stopped from behind by former Beat defender Kia McNeill just outside of the penalty box.
McNeill was given a red card and ejected from the game, leaving Philadelphia to play a man down.
"I've got to be honest with you, I think it was a foul and I think it was a penalty, but a red card was a bit harsh," Riley said. "I haven't seen the game tape ... but (the head official) was in a good coverage area, and I haven't seen the replay."
After the red card, the Independence opted to play with three defenders, a risky move considering that the Beat's field is 75 yards wide and most teams typically play with four as a standard.
The Beat made Philadelphia pay for that decision during first-half stoppage time. Megan Jesolva took the ball down the near flank, crossed the ball into the box for Meghan Lenczyk, who turned and passed the ball to Lori Chalupny, who was wide open in the middle of the box. Chalupny then slotted the ball past Independence goalkeeper Val Henderson for the match's first goal and her second of the season.
In the second half, however, Philadelphia adjusted and added a second forward up top, putting more offensive pressure on the Beat.
"We went to three in the back in the second half," Riley said. "We just decided to put two up front and go for the game. We took a few risks and, even with two up front, we kept the same formation. The pressure was a little bit better.
"We figured we would step out and take a chance, and we are away from home with nothing to lose. We showed some guts (Sunday). We had a really gutsy team last year and, in this league, if you've got some guts, then you will win a lot of games."
Philadelphia scored the equalizer in the 50th minute on a rebound by substitute Estelle Johnson, who scored after Beat goalkeeper Allison Lipsher dropped a deflection from a free kick by Lianne Sanderson.
In the 66th minute, the Independence jumped ahead with the eventual game-winner when Tasha Kai picked up a pass from the midfield, ran down the near flank and hit a low cross into the box for Joanna Lohman, who then passed the ball off for Lauren del Rio. Del Rio beat Lipsher to the far post for the goal.