Atlanta United drew Columbus Crew 2-2 at Lower.com Field after a weather delay on Sunday night. A beautiful Santiago Sosa goal highlighted a dominant first half for the five stripes. The second half, however, brought more rain and more drama as the match went down to the wire.
Sosa scored his first career MLS goal in the 21st minute. Caleb Wiley headed a Brooks Lennon cross back into the Atlanta midfield. The Argentinian midfielder was first to the ball, taking a touch and freezing Eloy Room with a rocket into the top corner from 25 yards out.
Atlanta believed it scored a second after Sosa headed in from a corner but the goal was waved off due to a foul committed in the box. “No, he didn’t give me a reason for why he had disallowed the second goal,” said Sosa. “Simply I told him that I didn’t push off but supported myself so as not to crash heads with him.”
Columbus leveled the scoreline at 1-1 in the 66th minute through Cucho Hernández. Kevin Molino sent Luis Díaz on a run down the right flank. The Costa Rican sent a ball to the edge of the Atlanta six-yard box for Hernández to curl past Rocco Ríos Novo.
Hernández snatched the lead for the hosts six minutes later. Will Sands threaded his way to the byline and put in a pass for the Colombian, who took two touches with his right foot before tucking in a shot under the bar with his left.
Juanjo Purata found an answer for Atlanta in the 77th minute. After the visitors looked dangerous all night from set pieces, Atlanta cashed in on a corner sent in by Edwin Mosquera. The 21-year-old earned his first MLS assist, as Purata headed a shot inside the far post and past Room. Atlanta United recorded 10 shots on target on the night, the most by the team in a single game this season.
After the match, Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda tip-toed around a question regarding his thoughts on the officiating:
“Well, my hands are tied there. I’m sorry. By the rules of the league, I can’t speak about the guys making the calls and fouls. I don’t think I can even say the name of their profession. But you guys write about it, I mean you guys watch the film, and please write about it, analyze it the same way you analyze coaches, and players, and dissect every play. Analyze and criticize some of these guys we can’t talk publicly about because our hands are tied and it’s frustrating but the first thing that comes to mind is the goal they scored at home, on a set piece, minimum contacts and it’s the same play. But as I said a few games ago, referees are always right and we coaches are always wrong.”
Atlanta (7-10-9, 30 points) returns to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday, Aug. 28 to face D.C. United (4:00 p.m., Univision, TUDN, Twitter, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor).
Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD