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Atlanta United concedes pair of late goals to 2-2 draw vs. Nashville SC

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It ain’t over till it’s over

MLS: Nashville SC at Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United conceded two late goals against Nashville SC to draw 2-2 on Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday. Goals from Marcelino Moreno and Erik Lopez gave Atlanta United the lead for the majority of the 90 minutes, but a late brace from Hany Mukhtar ensured the points were split between Atlanta and Nashville. Atlanta United is now 2-4-1 and in 7th place in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta United came flying out of the gates from the very beginning of the match and for the second game in a row a Miles Robinson pass led to a quality chance for Atlanta United to score. This time, the center back was credited with his first MLS assist after finding Marcelino Moreno running in behind Nashville’s backline for a fifth minute goal to put Atlanta ahead of its opposition.

That goal makes Moreno Atlanta’s leading goalscorer in MLS action with three goals this season. Robinson continued to play exquisite passes to his teammates throughout the match, and he finished the first half with two chances created, 49 touches and 41 passes, the most of any player in those three categories through the first 45 minutes. It’s been quite the evolution for Robinson.

Erik Lopez also secured a “first” today, scoring his first goal for the Five Stripes in the 51st minute. Moreno picked the ball up in Atlanta’s half, carried it into the attacking third and found Bello out wide. Bello then crossed into the path of the unmarked Erik Lopez for his first career Atlanta United goal. Both Bello and Moreno were credited with an assist in the buildup to the goal.

“It was a beautiful feeling to score my first goal for Atlanta United, and it felt amazing to do it in this stadium,” Lopez said. “It’s something that I’ll always remember for the rest of my life.”

For most of the match, Atlanta’s attack looked as good as it had all season, dissembling Nashville’s 400+ minute clean sheet run in the process. Pair that with Atlanta’s fairly good defensive record and it was easy to imagine that Atlanta would walk away with three points. That’s when Hany Mukhtar stepped in.

Moments after Brad Guzan made a save with the literal tip of his foot, Nashville’s Mukhtar got one past Guzan in the 81st minute.

Mukhtar, an unmarked forward in Atlanta’s penalty area, scored Nashville’s equalizer two minutes later to make it 2-2.

For the majority of the season, Atlanta’s attack has been under scrutiny, but Saturday’s match against Nashville was probably Atlanta’s best attacking display in 2021. The team was direct, dynamic and fun to watch. Atlanta finished the match with 1.4 xG and 12 shots

At the same time, Atlanta’s defensive setup and execution has been fairly solid throughout the season and the two goals conceded today don’t necessarily erase that performance in the attack.

“Even though we tied, for me at least and I'm sure for a lot of the guys, this feels like a loss,” said George Bello. “It’s in the past now. We have a break so we have to regroup, just get ready to keep going.”

Atlanta United will face off against the Philadelphia Union at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on June 20th after a lengthy international break.