Atlanta United hosted Philadelphia Union at Mercedes-Benz Stadium after a lengthy break for Concacaf Olympic Qualifying. The five stripes drew 2-2 with the Union thanks to late goals from Corey Burke and Jakob Glesnes. Anton Walkes scored his first goal of the season and his third career goal with the club.
With multiple international tournaments happening simultaneously, it’s a miracle that Atlanta are only without two players. Ronald Hernández, and star-man Josef Martinez, were called up to represent Venezuela in the Copa América tournament in Brazil. With their star striker abroad, manager Gabriel Heinze opted to start Erick “Cubo” Torres at striker. A notable absence was Mexican-winger Jurgen Damm, who suffered a hamstring injury around the same time as Machop Chol and Ezequiel Barco, who were both restored to the team sheet. Former academy player Jackson Conway, also made his MLS debut.
Having formed an official rivalry after their Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League clashes, the Union wasted no time in attack. Within minutes, Jamiro Monteiro was set to take a free kick from about 25-yards out. He sent a long-ball across the box to Jakob Glesnes, who headed the ball near-post, forcing Brad Guzan to make a diving save.
In the 34′ minute, Philadelphia had a solid opportunity on a counterattack to break the deadlock. Even though it was a 2 v 3, Atlanta’s defenders were out of position, making it easier to maneuver inside the 18. Kacper Przybylko’s first attempt on goal was blocked by a defender. His second attempt, seven minutes later, was a low, left-footed effort that Guzan had to stretch to deflect.
On a 2 v 1, George Bello and Marcelo Moreno had a solid chance to score the game’s first goal, but Moreno was eventually ruled offside. Bello should’ve one-touched it to Moreno, but instead, his second touch was too strong and gave the defender time to adjust his position (making Moreno offside).
In the 57′ minute, Atlanta was gifted a goal by Philadelphia to finally break the deadlock. An own goal by Kacper Przybylko from a corner kick gave Atlanta the lead in the second half.
In the dying embers of the match, Brooks Lennon sent a beautiful cross to the far post where an Anton Walkes header doubled the lead to 2-0. Almost immediately after the celebrations were over, the Union forced themselves into Atlanta’s half and momentum immediately shifted after Corey Burke stole one back.
With the match crawling to a close, just minutes into stoppage time, the Union continued to fight. Their resilience would pay off as Jakob Glesnes sent a rocket past Brad Guzan far-post from around 30-yards out. The race for goal of the season might as well be called right now.
The two late goals, especially the one from Glesnes, will call into question Atlanta’s inability to finish. Too many leads have been blown in a similar manner for this not to be seen as a pattern.
“In a soccer game, both teams are going to have chances. They were able to capitalize on their chances late in the game tonight,” said Atlanta United’s Brooks Lennon post-match. “I think their second goal was, some people could call it a lucky shot, but we didn’t close him out and didn’t put pressure on him. So, we need to look at that on film and go back and fix our mistakes. And hopefully the next time we have a 2-0 lead, we can keep it.”
Brooks Lennon was 100% correct in his post-match assessment. Glesnes was allowed to roam and penetrate the attack half on multiple occasions. Never mind the fact that he’s a center back, each time he came forward, zero pressure was applied. He was also quick to note that the five stripes were in this exact same situation just before the break. “We’re obviously disappointed not to get three points tonight. Up 2-0 just like our last match against Nashville at home with less than 10 minutes left to go in the game [and lose].”
Atlanta (2-1-5, 11 points) returns to action Wednesday, June 23 against New York City FC at Red Bull Arena (7:30 p.m. ET, Bally Sports Southeast, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor).
Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD