Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez #7 dribbles the ball during the match against FC Cincinatti at TQL Stadium in Cincinatti, Ohio, on Wednesday July 21, 2021. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Atlanta United drew 1-1 with FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night in interim head coach Rob Valentino’s debut. Ronald Hernández started his first match for the club and scored his first MLS goal in the second half. Josef Martinez also came on as a second-half substitute, appearing in his first match since May 29.

Despite a scoreless first half, each team had plenty of chances that resulted in a combined 18 shots with seven on target. In the 10′ minute, Marcelino Moreno took a free kick from about 30 yards out that nearly curled into the top left corner, but hit the crossbar and went out of bounds for a goal kick.

Jackson Conway then had a chance in the 22′ minute when Moreno played the Homegrown forward through, with Conway forcing Kenneth Vermeer to make a tough save. Alec Kann came up big throughout the rest of the half, making three saves in a five-minute stretch to keep the game level.

Luciano Acosta opened the scoring in the 61′ minute. Brenner played Acosta into the penalty area, where Acosta sidestepped an Atlanta defender and perfectly curled a right-footed effort past Kann.

Atlanta quickly responded with Hernández scoring his first goal with the club in the 70′ minute. Brooks Lennon dribbled the ball into Cincinnati’s box and towards the end line before cutting back a cross through the middle of the area, where a touch from Machop Chol found Hernández. The Venezuelan international smashed a right-footed shot past Vermeer for his first professional club goal.

In the 86′ minute, Moreno won a free kick on the edge of the box. Martinez stepped up to take it and hit a right-footed strike aimed for just inside the far post that forced a diving save from Vermeer.

Atlanta had another big chance in stoppage time, as Jake Mulraney made a long run down the right side of the field before playing Moreno in behind the back line. The Argentine found himself 1 v 1 with Vermeer and tried to one-time a shot inside the near post, however the Cincinnati goalkeeper was able to make the save.

Atlanta (2-4-8, 14 points) returns to action Saturday when it hosts Columbus Crew SC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (3:30 p.m., ABC, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor).

-Jon J.

Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD

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