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  • Writer's pictureSoccer Down Here

Orlando breaks Atlanta hearts with late equalizer and MLS Next Pro shootout win

Atlanta United 2 drew 2-2 with Orlando City B on the road in Kissimmee, Florida tonight after Favian Loyola's stoppage time equalizer for the hosts. OCB rode that momentum through the post-match penalty shootout, converting on all five of their attempts to pick up the bonus point. Atlanta is now 3-6-3 in the regular season with 13 points and in fifth place in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference.

Wilfredo Rivera opened the scoring for the hosts on a nice cut back cross from Alexander Freeman in the 11th minute. It was the first match for Atlanta in MLS Next Pro since May 31 and it took them a while to get settled into the match, which was delayed for over 40 minutes due to thunderstorms in Central Florida.

The second half started well for Atlanta after switching to three center backs as academy player Kaiden Moore replaced midfielder Adyn Torres. Alan Carleton checked into the match as well in the second half and his cross found Nick Firmino in the 70th minute, the 2023 MLS Next Pro Best XI member powered home a header to level the match.

Carleton intercepted a pass at the top of his 18-yard box late in the second half, carried the ball forward, and flicked a pass through with the outside of his right foot to an on-rushing Karim Tmimi. The Frenchman's low shot powered through traffic and into the back of the net in the 88th minute to give Atlanta the lead. The two assists for Carleton were his first of the season.

Orlando threw everyone forward and Favian Loyola, a second half substitute, beat goalkeeper Josh Cohen low to the corner in the 95th minute to send the match to the shootout. Carleton's attempt in the third round was saved by Carlos Mercado and Shak Mohammed's fifth round conversion won the bonus point for Orlando.

Atlanta United 2 will be back in action on Sunday from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where they will face Inter Miami II. Pregame coverage starts on the SDH Network with Jon Nelson at 5:30 p.m., followed by kickoff just after 6:00 p.m.

✍️: Jason Longshore


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