Two red cards, six goals and 90 minutes later, a match that had pulses racing resulted in Atlanta United tying Chicago Fire by a 3-3 score.
The draw puts Atlanta’s point total at 22 with a 6-4-4 record.
Gonzalo Pineda made some changes to the usual starting lineup for this match. Miles Robinson and Brooks Lennon were given rests and replaced by Luis Abram and Ronald Hernandez, respectively. This marks Abram's first MLS start since joining Atlanta United in February.
Franco Ibarra and Amar Sejdic were the midfield of choice and Miguel Berry started as the lone striker.
The tide shifted in the Five Stripes’ favor after Chicago’s Federico Navarro was issued a second yellow card for a foul on Berry on the edge of the box. Andrew Gutman then put away a rebound from the ensuing free kick to give Atlanta a 1-0 lead in Chicago after 29 minutes.
The Five Stripes could not hold the lead until the half, however, after a Shaqiri Olimpico attempt that was parried by Quinten Westberg hit Juanjo Purata’s back and bounced over the goal line. An unlucky concession near the end of the half saw the teams go to the locker rooms with a 1-1 tied game.
Despite the lineup rotation, Atlanta United seemed very composed throughout the first half. The team posted eight shots with four on target including the goal. Defensively, the team did a good job of limiting the Fire’s chances, keeping the hosts to three shots and just one - the goal - on target.
A man down, but proving it wasn’t out of the game yet, the Fire scored early in the second half after Kacper Przybylko headed down a Xherdan Shaqiri pass into the box for Maren Haile-Selassie to blast it past Westberg and put Chicago in the lead with a 2-1 score.
Atlanta United fought back, however, and equalized after Hernandez played a cross to the far post for Gutman to bring down and Giorgos Giakoumakis slotted it home to level the game at 2-2.
That's 7️⃣ goals for our Tank!! pic.twitter.com/Ne60Bdmjrc— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) May 21, 2023
Giakoumakis wasn’t done yet, though. After Almada played him through with a beautifully weighted ball, the Greek striker rounded the keeper and put it in the back of the net. Although the goal was initially disallowed for offside, it was given after a brief VAR check. The Five Stripes found themselves in the lead again three goals to two.
Atlanta United saw red in the 71st minute after Luiz Araujo earned a second yellow card just two minutes after his first. The final 20 minutes of the match would see both teams down to 10 men, but the Five Stripes still in the lead.
That lead would be eliminated by another Greek, Georgios Koutsias, who received the ball much too easily after a cross into the box and slotted it home to tie the game again in the 89th minute at 3-3.
After that late goal, neither side was able to get the edge and the hectic match ended 3-3 with 20 men on the field.
This was a match that Atlanta United should’ve absolutely gotten all three points from, but some very poor defending and a really stupid red card erased its advantage and forced it to go home with just a point.
Atlanta United will be back in action on Saturday, May 27 against Orlando City SC in Exploria Stadium.
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