Atlanta United 1, FC Cincinnati 1 | 2019 MLS Match Recap
Roland Lamah took Kenny Saief's line-breaking pass and drove in a shocking finish four minutes from full time, lifting FC Cincinnati to a 1-1 draw and their first-ever point in MLS Sunday at the home of defending MLS Cup champions Atlanta United.
Lamah's strike came 81 minutes after Josef Martinez had opened the scoring for the hosts, appearing to pave the way for a signature Atlanta onslaught. But while the dominance in possession continued, no more goals followed, allowing Cincy a window back into the match.
No such replay was needed however on Lamah's equalizer, after he ran into the path of Saief's perfectly weighted diagonal ball and drove a firm, left-footed strike beyond Brad Guzan.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Any doubts of whether Cincinnati are capable of earning tough results at this level should be erased. After struggling to cope with the Seattle Sounders throughout their Week 1 defeat, coach Alan Koch's side was much improved in its response to Martinez's opener. That would've been true even without the late equalizer, but now MLS's newest team heads into next weekend's home opener with a boatload of momentum.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The longer the difference remained at just one goal, the more likely it was that the visitors could find a way back with a moment of quality. It finally arrived with Saief's delivery, 13 minutes after he entered the match as Koch's third and final substitute, and Lamah's clinical finish.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: If there was a positive for Atlanta, it was the reintroduction of Julian Gressel. His return to the right flank was noticeable throughout his 90 minutes. After missing two games with a minor ankle injury, it's unclear if Frank de Boer goes to him again in Leg 2 of Atlanta's Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal against Monterrey on Wednesday. If nothing else, Atlanta could use a positive result to build confidence after going 1-3-1 in their first five fixtures of 2019.
- ATL: Wednesday, March 13 vs. Monterrey, Leg 2 of CCL quarterfinals (8 pm ET | UDN, YahooSports.com)
- CIN: Sunday, March 17 vs. Portland Timbers (5 pm ET | FS1, MLS LIVE on DAZN)