Atlanta United come from behind to manage 2-2 draw with NYCFC

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – With a late goal from Dom Dwyer, Atlanta United came from behind to manage a 2-2 draw on the road against NYCFC as interim head coach Nick Cushing continues to search for his first win in charge.

NYCFC grab a late first-half lead

Starting strong on the attack but only really managing the first opportunity on goal in the 24th minute was NYCFC with Taty Castellanos finding Santiago Rodríguez in a pocket of space just 10 yards from the box. With a quick turn and a one-touch pass, Rodríguez played Anton Tinnerholm rushing in for a cross which took a slight deflection towards goal from Alfredo Morales before being cleared off the line by Atlanta’s Alan Franco.

Atlanta would respond with a chance of their own in the 29th minute as Thiago Almada dribbled against Tinnerholm for space on the left-wing. Finally getting a cross off, Almada would pick out a wide-open Luiz Araújo who arguably should have done better with the attempt but nods it right into the gloves of Sean Johnson.

Despite leading the attack but producing a lack of shots on goal, NYCFC would find a breakthrough in the 37th minute as Maxime Chanot won the ball in the midfielder with a sliding challenge and pushed it to Talles Magno. Taking his space, Magno dribbled up the field and would hit a pinpoint through ball for Castellanos now in behind Atlanta’s defensive line. Castellanos ripped it near post with Rocco Ríos Novo getting a late fingertip to the ball however, not enough to keep the ball out or to prevent NYCFC from grabbing a late first-half lead now up 1-0.

Atlanta United come from behind with two second-half goals

NYCFC would pick up where they left off finding a chance in the 48th minute with Rodríguez winning the ball and dribbing to spark an attack from deep into the midfield. As he approached the box, Rodríguez would lay it off to Maxi Moralez before another pass into the run of Tinnerholm on the right-wing. With Tinnerholm once again hitting a one-time cross, he’d find Rodríguez central in the box for a somewhat off-balance shot that smashed into the post before being cleared by Franco.

However, Atlanta would find their first goal of the match in the 56th minute with Almada winning the ball back after a sloppy pass and transitioning instantly with a chipped cross for Josef Martínez inside the box. Wide-open and catching NYCFC’s defense completely off guard, Martínez tucked away the opportunity with a diving header out of Johnson’s reach to set the scoreline even at 1-1.

Only seconds later with the clock reaching the 58th minute, NYCFC would have the answer thanks to a poor clearance from Aiden McFadden which was collected by Magno in an attacking position. Sliding the ball across the box, Magno would pick out Castellanos who slammed home the opportunity for his 50th career goal in MLS and to again extend the Pigeons into the lead at 2-1.

Things would quiet on both sides until around the 86th minute as substitute Dom Dwyer entered the pitch for Atlanta just moments prior. With the game slowing and the clock ticking away, Franco hit a pass on the ground from deep to Ronaldo Cisneros who would use a head fake move on defender Alexander Callens sending him skating. Now open inside the box, Cisneros found Dom Dwyer breaking into the area for a one-time shot low and hard which just picked out Johnson’s far corner to snatch a 2-2 draw for Atlanta. 

Last Word: Cushing remains winless through five matches

There are definitely a lot of moving pieces to this puzzle that is NYCFC currently with injuries and transfer rumors but no doubt Nick Cushing has struggled since his interim takeover for the club. Taty’s brace in a return from illness should have been huge but overall the team lacked offensive output with just three total shots on goal and somewhat struggled against an 11th-place Atlanta side.

That being said Atlanta’s record might not accurately reflect the strength of its squad and although fortunate to manage a draw could have possibly pulled off a win with NYCFC often retreating and ATL’s attackers forcing good saves from Sean Johnson. Cushing and NYCFC will need to show supporters something else as they’ve only fallen in the standings in recent weeks and will take on playoff contenders New England heading into next weekend.
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