Thiago Almada scored two goals in second-half stoppage time to lift Atlanta United in a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over San Jose Earthquakes Saturday night before a raucous crowd of 67,538 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Almada became just the second player in MLS history to score both an equalizing and game-winning goal in stoppage time, and the first Atlanta United player to score a brace in stoppage time. Brad Guzan and Miles Robinson also started the match, each marking their respective returns from season-ending Achilles injuries last year.
Trailing 1-0 since the 12th minute, Atlanta United earned what would be a game-changing corner in the 93rd minute. Brooks Lennon sent it short to Almada, who took one touch a few yards outside of the penalty area before ripping a shot that struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced into the goal for the equalizer.
Five minutes later, Derrick Etienne Jr. earned a free kick just outside of the arc, roughly 25 yards from goal. The Argentine curled a right-footed shot past an outstretched Daniel De Sousa Brito, scoring the latest goal in Atlanta United history in the 99th minute. The game-winning strike was the final kick of the game.
San Jose started well, scoring an early goal in the 12th minute. Cristian Espinoza sent a cross from the right side to the back post where striker Jeremy Ebobisse headed home the game’s opening goal.
Atlanta fought back and earned a penalty in the 39th minute when Paul Marie was ruled for a handball on an Andrew Gutman cross. Luiz Araújo stepped to the spot, but his attempt flew just wide of the left post.
Atlanta continued to push for the game-tying goal, taking 13 of its 20 total shots in the second half. Miguel Berry and Etienne Jr. made their club debuts when they checked into the match in the 56th minute, and defender Luis Abram made his first Atlanta appearance in the 80th minute.
Atlanta United returns to action when it hosts Toronto FC on March 4 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (7:30 p.m., MLS Season Pass, Star 94, La Mejor). All Atlanta United matches are available on MLS Season Pass in the Apple TV app.
Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD