Atlanta United’s clash with Inter Miami CF ended in a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon in Miami, FL. Goals came from Atlanta’s Josef Martinez and Miami’s Lewis Morgan. Atlanta’s Alex De John made his club debut and Brad Guzan made a season-high six saves.

In the 9′ minute, Atlanta’s talisman Josef Martinez scored his long-awaited first goal after returning from his ACL injury. Inside the 18, Martinez had enough time on the ball to spin his defender Ryan Shawcross, and beat the keeper with a left-footed strike far-post.

Gonzalo Higuaín threatened in the box a few minutes later after a missed clearance by Miles Robinson but Brad Guzan was able to bat it away.

A bit of controversy came in the 59′ minute when Inter Miami tried to capitalize on a turnover. Santiago Sosa sent a bad back pass to his defense and the ball was picked off by Gonzalo Higuaín. As Higuaín closed in on goal, Anton Walkes and Miles Robinson both lunged to block the shot attempt on goal. Miami argued handball but nothing came of it, even though it did appear to bounce off a defender.

In the 76′ minute, Lewis Morgan leveled the scoreline. With Federico Higuaín making a run to his right, it was enough to distract both George Bello and Santiago Sosa, as Morgan drove past both defenders into open space. Once Morgan squared his boots, he sent a low attempt near-post to beat Brad Guzan for the first time.

More controversy came in stoppage time when Miami felt they were denied another penalty. Guzan made an initial stop but on the follow up, made contact with Victor Ulloa while blocking the ball. Inter Miami players were furious and immediately approached the referee, but play continued and no foul was called.

It was another tale of two halves for Atlanta United. All of their energy and enthusiasm came in the first and things dropped off in the second. In attack, they were about the same as they’ve been all-season. “The first 45 minutes the team did very well. I believe we should have scored more in the first half,” said Atlanta United head coach Gabriel Heinze after the match. “In the second half, we struggled to keep the same intensity. Also we struggled with the temperature and the amount of recovery time we had from the last match.”

But defensively, they were more than fortunate on the day. There were more than a few mistakes by Miles Robinson and Anton Walkes that could’ve easily resulted in goals. Atlanta will probably feel hard-done by the result; it’s a draw that feels like a loss. If they call themselves fighting for trophies this season they’re going to have to make finishing a priority and keeping the tempo in the second half. Because if this is how they perform without two key players (Barco, Damm) then they’re in for a long season.

Shots: 16-14 Miami
Shots on Target: 6-5 Miami
Corner kicks: 9-2 Miami
Fouls committed: 25-15 Miami
Offside: 2-2
Possession: 62-38 Atlanta
Passing Accuracy: 90-81 Atlanta

Atlanta (1-2-1, 5 points) returns to action Saturday, May 15 against CF Montreal at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the club’s first full-capacity home match of the season (7:00 p.m., Bally Sports Southeast, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game).

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