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Heartbreaking night for Atlanta United 2, busy week ahead: Starting Lineup, September 18

by Jason Longshore

1- Atlanta United 2 had to win last night in regulation over Inter Miami II to have a chance to qualify for the MLS Next Pro playoffs in the final week of the season next Sunday. After a slow start and perhaps some nerves, Miami was ahead 3-1 to start the second half and a miracle was needed. It nearly arrived, but there just wasn't enough time. Nick Firmino's 16th goal of the season followed by the equalizer from captain Kofi Twumasi pulled the game level, but Miami's Cole Jensen made a number of big saves on the night and a couple more late in the match to have it finish 3-3. Immense credit to the Atlanta players to hit a perfect five out of five in the now meaningless shootout to earn the bonus point in the standings, but the shootout win was not enough to keep the playoff hopes alive. (photo: Sofia Cupertino)

2- I love calling games for the 2's. Seeing the development of the players, getting to know their personalities, watching the kids break through from the academy to this level, all of it makes the first team debuts mean even more. This was an incredible season from start to finish with so many roller coaster rides from week to week, even from half to half in games. Getting games like the last two, meaningful games that will further the development of everyone involved, it's why the 2's are such an important part of Atlanta United. I was completely gutted for the players after the work they put in to give themselves this opportunity to qualify for the postseason. In the long run, they'll benefit from the experience even with the pain they felt at the final whistle last night. (photo: Sofia Cupertino)

3- Thank you to everyone with the club, especially Matt Moore, for allowing SDH to be the radio home of Atlanta United 2 in 2023. We already can't wait for next season! Thank you as well to Steve Cooke, Jose Silva, Lewis Sharpe, Ricky Davey, and the entire support staff for being so open with us ahead of matches and thank you to the players for taking time for interviews for us ahead of games and afterwards. Also, big thanks to Ramon Elortondo for all of his help from the club this year with our match notes, arranging production calls and interviews, and all the game day support. We'll have one more broadcast this year on Sunday as the 2's finish the season in Columbus.

4- Real Madrid kept their winning streak going in La Liga after they came back for a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad on Sunday. Federico Valverde and Joselu scored early in the second half at the Santiago Bernabeu to give Madrid its fifth consecutive win to start the season. Real Madrid is the only team left in the league with a perfect record, they hold a two point lead over Barcelona who opened the season with a draw before winning four in a row.

5- It wasn't pretty for Arsenal on Sunday, but Leandro Trossard second half goal was enough for the Gunners to get a 1-0 win over Everton. Trossard was a first half substitute after Gabriel Martinelli had to leave the match with an injury. Everton has lost three straight at home by the 1-0 scoreline.

6- Roma and Jose Mourinho demolished Empoli 7-0 in Serie A yesterday. Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku played together for the first time, Dybala scored twice after missing the last match due to injury and Lukaku scored his first for Roma.

7- Staying in Italy, Milan have to brush off the disappointment of their derby defeat to Inter and get ready for Newcastle in the Champions League this week. It's a lot to get past as Milan have lost five times to Inter in 2023, the most losses in a calendar year to their rivals ever.

8- Last night, Portland jumped into the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with their 2-1 win in Austin. Felipe Mora scored the first goal of the night, then assisted on Evander's 64th minute tally. Austin pulled one back in the 75th minute through Sebastian Driussi, but it wasn't enough. The Timbers are one point up on Kansas City and Dallas in the race for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

9- It isn't quite your moment of zen, unless you're a hard tackling defender, but check this tackle out from the Honduran top flight:

10- On this day in 1908, one of the first articles appeared in Atlanta newspapers about local efforts to build a soccer community. Pat Harland took up the initiative to try to form a team in Atlanta proper as Lithonia and Stone Mountain had already formed teams. Meetings would soon take place and some of the first organized attempts to building a soccer community happened in the fall of 1908.

11- The movie Singles premiered on this day in 1992. Its soundtrack is one of the best of the 1990's. So many songs to choose from, but I'll go with Mother Love Bone's "Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns" for your Song of the Day. If you're not familiar with the band, check out their story and imagine what might have been...

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