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Philadelphia Union 2, Atlanta United FC 2 | 2017 MLS Match Recap

Drama flared at every turn as the Philadelphia Union and Atlanta United FC faced off for the first time ever on Saturday.

The Union raced out to an early 2-0 lead via classy goals from Roland Alberg and Alejandro Bedoya, only for the expansion side to clamber back into contention through Yamil Asad, then snatch an injury-time equalizer via substitute Tyrone Mears to bank a potentially crucial road point at Talen Energy Stadium. 

The visitors were greatly helped by a straight red card to Union defender Josh Yaro, who dragged down Josef Martinez early in the second half on a play ruled a denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity. For long stretches it seemed his teammates would hang on for the victory, only for Mears to react quickest to the rebound of Andre Blake's punch in the dying minutes.

Goals

  • 18' – PHI – Roland Alberg Watch
  • 23' – PHI – Alejandro Bedoya Watch
  • 26' – ATL – Yamil Asad Watch
  • 90+1' – ATL – Tyrone Mears Watch

Three Things

  1. SLIDING PLAYOFF DOORS: With Philly leading 2-1, you could make a case for the Union's postseason hopes getting revived by a clutch victory here; they would've been just two points back of Atlanta. But Mears' late heroics changed the picture markedly, pushing ATL UTD into the Eastern Conference's sixth and final playoff spot (at least for now) and leaving Philadelphia well off the pace.
  2. WOE IS YARO: It's been a tough year for Yaro, the 2nd overall 2016 SuperDraft pick who can't seem to put together any sort of extended run of both form and fitness as a pro. Saturday was the second straight game in which the former Georgetown University star has committed a costly error (he conceded a late, game-tying penalty kick at San Jose last week) and he may have to dig deep to sustain his confidence when he returns from suspension.
  3.  LEAKY DOWN SOUTH: Their attack can be fearsome to behold, but Atlanta's defense continues to spring untimely leaks. The Five Stripes' back four has posted just five clean sheets all season and they dug themselves a deep early hole with a few slack moments in this one. Union target man CJ Sapong was a particular thorn in ATL's side, battling both physically and psychologically with Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Jeff Larentowicz et al.

Next Up

  • PHI: Saturday, Sept. 9 – at Minnesota (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE)
  • ATL: Sunday, Sept. 10 – vs. FC Dallas (3:30 pm ET | FS1 in US, MLS LIVE in Canada)
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