Atlanta United gives up late goal to draw New England

Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis #7 celebrates after a goal during the second half of the match against New England Revolution at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on Wednesday May 31, 2023. (Photo by Mitchell Martin/Atlanta United)

Credit: Mitchell Martin/Atlanta United

Credit: Mitchell Martin/Atlanta United

Atlanta United forward Giorgos Giakoumakis #7 celebrates after a goal during the second half of the match against New England Revolution at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA on Wednesday May 31, 2023. (Photo by Mitchell Martin/Atlanta United)

Atlanta United can’t stop beating itself.

A goal from New England in the 93rd minute resulted in Atlanta United stuck with a 3-3 draw on Wednesday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Miguel Berry looked to have scored the winner in the 87th minute. His 20-yard volley -- reminiscent of Jeff Larentowicz’s strike against Club America in 2019 -- was preceded by goals from Giorgos Giakoumakis and Thiago Almada.

But Carles Gil struck for the second time to tie the match at 3 and leave Atlanta United once again to wonder why it keeps giving up not only soft goals but goals late in matches. It has given up eight in the 89th minute or later this season. All three of New England’s shots on goal were successful. It’s final goal was its only shot in the second half and its first since its second goal.

Atlanta United failed to win at home for the second time in its past three matches in front of an announced attendance of 42,915.

“We were two minutes away from being very, very, very happy,” manager Gonzalo Pineda said. “So I cannot be completely frustrated because I felt there are many positives to this performance. But as I told the players, there’s nothing we can say now that will make us feel better. This taste in the mouth is really, really bad.”

That Atlanta United (6-4-6) needed to rally was almost unbelievable because it dominated the match. It controlled possession (71.9%), outshot the Revs (20-7), had more shots on goal (5-3), and had a much higher expected goals total (1.8-0.9).

“Obviously upset; we know we’re a good team,” Berry said. “Especially with the performance, we played much better than them, score three goals and give up three, we’re disappointed with that.”

Pineda selected a strong lineup that was composed of Giakoumakis, wings Luiz Araujo and Derrick Etienne, midfielders Almada, Matheus Rossetto and Franco Ibarra, fullbacks Brooks Lennon and Andrew Gutman, centerbacks Miles Robinson and JuanJo Purata, and goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

But It took New England 23 seconds to open a 1-0 lead when Guzan passed the ball to Gil at the top of the 18-yard box. Gil took a touch before shooting past Guzan’s right hand. Guzan wasn’t helped by a poor, bouncing pass to him from Robinson. Still, after the goal Guzan could be seen putting his hand to his chest and motioning it was his fault toward Robinson. It was the fastest-ever goal allowed by Atlanta United. The previous fastest was 27 seconds by Toronto’s Tsubasa Endoh on June 26, 2019.

Pineda said the responsibility for the goal was his, and not Guzan’s, who was playing his second game since returning from an MCL injury.

“Every time there’s a mistake from the center back or the goalkeeper, it’s my mistake, because I ask them to be brave, to try to play from the back to try to break opponents because I feel like it is the best way to go,” Pineda said.

Pineda said he doesn’t feel that Guzan rushed back too soon, citing his play in the last match against Orlando as part of his evidence.

Having lots of time to regroup, Atlanta United began to put the Revs under pressure. Araujo missed with two shots. Almada hit Djordje Petrovic’s crossbar with a free kick from 22 yards in the 12th minute. Gikaoumakis tried to catch Petrovic off his line with a 50-yard shot in the 16th minute.

Atlanta United’s shot total increased to eight by the 35th minute but it was the Revs who struck again when Bobby Wood got past Gutman to reach a cross to the back post and tap it in to give the Revs a 2-0 lead in the 37th minute. It was New England’s second shot on goal. Lennon didn’t put enough pressure on the crosser. Gutman was attempting to mark two players, which resulted in him slightly hesitating to run with Wood.

Atlanta United attempted 12 shots in the first half. It put two on goal, which was the same total as New England, which took four shots. Atlanta United created 10 chances to New England’s three.

Atlanta United broke through in the 56th minute when Giakoumakis was first to reach a ball that was bouncing around in the 18-yard box. Running left, he reached out to the right with his right foot and poked the ball past Petrovic. The goal came on Atlanta United’s 15th shot, third on goal. Atlanta United extended its league-leading streak of consecutive league matches with a goal to 18.

Tyler Wolff, who scored the tying goal against Orlando in the previous game, came on for Etienne in the 61st minute.

Almada forced a save in the 64th minute with an awkward shot from eight yards.

Robinson drove through New England’s defense a few minutes later and set up Giakoumakis, but he couldn’t make clean contact with his shot from six yards.

Atlanta United got its tying goal in the 74th minute on a goal by Almada that was going left, forcing Petrovic to dive to his right, before it deflected off a New England player and went to the right. The goal was assisted by Rossetto. The goal came on Atlanta United’s 19th shot.

Berry and Machop Chol came on in the 84th minute for Giakoumakis and Rossetto.

Berry’s goal may have come on his first touch. He took down a pass, turned and slammed a volley from the right side of the pitch into the upper left corner. It was just his third shot of the season.

“For anyone whose played, you know if you hit it that clean, you know before you don’t have to look up,” Berry said. “So that’s obviously a good feeling.”

It all came undone in stoppage time.

New England worked the ball onto the right flank so quickly that there was no way for Chol to close down the crosser. The ball wasn’t cleared far by a diving Purata. It came to Gil near the top of the box. Pineda said that Atlanta United players are taught to try to close down the stronger foot, which would be Gil’s left. He switched the ball to his right and unleashed a hard strike to Guzan’s near post. Pineda said Guzan’s vision of the shot was partially blocked.

“We need to do better at blocking crosses, blocking shots,” Pineda said. “In football, it’s tough to block all of them. The third one is the only shot they had in the second half. So, I mean, yeah, we need to block every shot in the game to not concede goals.”

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Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule

Feb. 25 Atlanta United 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1

March 4 Atlanta United 1, Toronto FC 1

March 11 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte FC 0

March 18 Atlanta United 5, Portland 1

March 25 Columbus 6, Atlanta United 1

April 1 Atlanta United 1, New York Red Bulls 0

April 8 Atlanta United 1, New York City FC 1

April 15 Atlanta United 2, Toronto FC 2

April 23 Atlanta United 2, Chicago 1

April 29 Nashville SC 3, Atlanta United 1

May 6 Inter Miami CF 2, Atlanta United 1

May 13 Charlotte 3, Atlanta United 1

May 17 Atlanta United 4, Colorado 0

May 20 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 3

May 27 Atlanta United 1, Orlando 1

May 31 Atlanta United 3, New England 3

June 7 or Sept. 13 at Los Angeles FC, 10:30 p.m.

June 10 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

June 21 vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

June 24 at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

July 2 vs. Philadelphia Union, 4 p.m., Fox

July 8 at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 12 at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.

July 15 vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m., FS1

Aug. 20 at Seattle Sounders, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 26 vs. Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 30 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 2 at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Sept. 16 vs. Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 20 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 7 vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 21 at FC Cincinnati, TBA