MLS SOCCER

Atlanta Earns Draw Against Philadelphia

Josef Martinez does a bicycle kick

ATLANTA — A 1-1 draw was the result of Sunday’s matchup between Atlanta United and the Philadelphia Union at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Union (0-2-1) took the lead of the game when Brenden Aaronson scored in the second minute of the second half. The shot by Aaronson looked to have deflected off Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez, which left goalkeeper Brad Guzan without a chance to make a stop on the play.

As United (0-1-2)  looked to even the score, manager Frank De Boer substituted Ezequiel Barco and Brek Shea into the game while taking off Hector Villalba and Michael Parkhurst at the 67th minute.Three minutes later, the substitution paid off, as Barco headed in the tying goal into the far post off an assist by Julian Gressel. The Five Stripes looked to score their second goal of the night during the last 20 minutes of the match but came up short and had to settle for their second draw out of the team’s first three games.

“We were a little bit unfortunate that we conceded that sloppy goal against us because I really had the feeling that they were getting more tired than us,” De Boer said. “They (Philadelphia) didn’t play those extra four games during this period, you can see that we are just missing that little bit of freshness to get a pass to the right man or at the right speed or first control, we make too many errors when it’s not necessary and I think that’s the reason,I think,  mostly, because freshness is what we are missing right now.

“Hopefully after this international period, we can see a fresh United, of course, some of our major players are going to play abroad, but I think we’re going to see a fresh Atlanta United with better choices on the ball. A one-one draw is a really disappointing result for everyone who loves Atlanta United, but still, they can also be proud for the team, who tried to straighten the back and looked to get forward and get the winning goal.

It’s not easy when you play games, and you’re tired, and the players are really tired right now, and they deserve the two days off.” The first half of the game saw both teams not being able to create a danger to the opponent’s goal. It wasn’t until the 37th minute when a shot by Josef Martinez hit the crossbar. Just before the end of the first half, Philadelphia’s Fabrice-Jean Picault went around Brad Guzan and shot what looked like to be the first goal of the game. But thankfully for Atlanta, Miles Robinson followed the play and was able to clear the ball right at the goal line to keep the even score.

“Miles was fantastic; his athleticism gets him out of tight situations, he’s been excellent with the ball on his feet,” Brad Guzan said. “He’s able to get into areas where he can help guys around him, he’s always in a good spot, bring good options and open passing lanes.”

The Five Stripes will play their next match until March 30th when the team will take on the Columbus Crew.

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