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Frustration: Atlanta United fails to close out lead, draws 2-2 with Philadelphia

by Madison Crews

Atlanta United earned a point at home against the Philadelphia Union in a 2-2 draw on Sunday. 

It was a lot of back and forth in the first half, but neither team was able to put one in the back of the net.  The two teams went into halftime deadlocked at 0-0.  

In the second half, things started to heat up. Daniel Ríos started off the scoring in the 55th minute when Thiago Almada sent a pass to the back post and Ríos was able to make a beautiful header to the right post. This was Daniel Ríos’ first career start and his first goal with Atlanta United. 

“I think he made a great play, and I told him the other day about those types of crosses, using that exact space, and then he was there,” said Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda after the match. “I am really happy for his dedication and commitment, but again, it wasn’t easy because he hasn’t trained a lot with the team, and the opposition has very good center-backs, so to get past them, you’ll really have to be good, and today, he was really good.”

10 minutes later, Caleb Wiley wanted to join Ríos on the scoresheet and hit an absolute rocket into the back of the net. Edwin Mosquera ran it into the box, but it was blocked by the Philadelphia defense. The ball rolled to Wiley and he took the shot to make it 2-0.  


Philadelphia was able to respond quickly as Mikael Uhre ran onto a misplaced pass from Mosquera and scored to make it 2-1 only 2 minutes after Atlanta doubled the lead. 

In the 77th minute, the Union were able to make it 2-2 when they earned a throw-in, a very controversial one as Nathan Harriel possibly stepped over the touchline launching the throw-in towards the box, which led to Kai Wagner finding the back of the net on a spectacular first-time finish. 

“We are winning 2-0 at home, playing very well, creating a lot of chances, and the team was very solid, solid defensively too, but then we gave up two silly goals,” said Gonzalo Pineda after the match. “Of course it is frustrating, because we deserved to win tonight, but we did not. It is frustrating, but the important thing is that after all the frustration and everything, we must learn from it and be better next time.”

This game could have had more goals for Philadelphia, but Guzan wasn’t letting anyone get past him in net. Atlanta had a lot of promising chances, but none were able to find the back of the net. 

“Just staying focused the whole game,” said Caleb Wiley when asked about what he can take from this game into the next one. “The first 45 is just as important as the last 45. And the last two minutes is super important, especially being 2-0 up and then 2-1 up, it's probably the most dangerous score. And so, just being locked in, but we'll have a full week of training and we'll bounce back against Cincinnati.”

It was one of those matches that felt like a loss afterwards, but the team has to bounce back fast as they prepare to face off against FC Cincinnati next Saturday night. 

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