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Firmino scores on MLS debut to earn a 2-2 draw for Atlanta United against NYCFC

Nick, not Roberto

MLS: New York City FC at Atlanta United FC Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

An Atlanta United side missing several key players snatched a 2-2 draw against New York City FC at the death courtesy of Nick Firmino on Wednesday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The draw puts Atlanta United 5th in the East with 29 points in 19 games and a 7-4-8 record.

It was no secret that Atlanta United would be missing some key players that were away on international duty, but there was still hope that Thiago Almada would at least be available. He wasn’t. Instead, Amar Sejdic starts as an attacking midfielder with Ajani Fortune making a second consecutive start as a number eight. Noah Cobb slotted in for Miles Robinson at center back, Tyler Wolff took over at right wing in Luiz Araujo and Derrick Etienne Jr’s absences and Miguel Berry was charged with filling Giorgos Giakoumakis’ big shoes at striker.

The visitors got on the scoreboard just 40 seconds into the match after Gabriel Pereira found space on the left side and was not closed down quickly enough. The Brazilian cut into the box and took his shot to put NYCFC ahead 1-0.

The Five Stripes answered 10 minutes later after a good bit of play inside the box led to Tyler Wolff firing a shot between Luis Barraza’s legs and into the back of the net to equalize. The goal is Wolff’s fourth of the season and the 350th goal in Atlanta United history.

Wolff would later get a chance to double his tally for the day after a beautiful cross by Caleb Wiley landed perfectly for him to tap it in, but he seemed to get it tangled between his legs and was unable to capitalize.

Apart from the first 40 seconds of the half, Atlanta United looked like the better team. Offensively, it outshot NYCFC 6-1 and put three shots on goal to NYCFC’s one.

The deadlock was broken in the second half by NYCFC after Fortune turned the ball over close to the box and allowed Gabriel Pereira to get a clear shot past Guzan and reestablish the lead. After 56 minutes, Atlanta United was behind again by a 2-1 score.

The Five Stripes grafted for a tying goal, and found it with MLS debutant Nick Firmino in the 94th minute when he got on the end of a Brooks Lennon cross into the box. With just minutes left in the match, Atlanta United found itself on level terms.

With that, the final whistle blew and the match ended 2-2 as the Five Stripes extend their unbeaten streak to seven.

Atlanta United will look to bounce back on Saturday, June 24th when it travels to Red Bull Arena to take on the New York Red Bulls at 7:30 pm.

What did you think of the match? Let us know in the comments below.