A penalty kick from Josef Martinez in the 86th minute earned Atlanta United a 1-1 draw with Seattle on Sunday at Lumen Field.
Martinez’s goal, his second this season, negated a goal allowed from a corner kick in the game’s opening minutes for Seattle. The penalty kick was created because Brooks Lennon was tackled late by Brad Smith. Lennon was running into space to reach a nice pass from Miles Robinson. It was a bit of redemption for Lennon, who was partially responsible for Seattle scoring.
It was another bit of late magic for the Five Stripes to secure a positive result after Marcelino Moreno’s goal in the 94th minute earned Atlanta United a win against Montreal last week. Just as in that game, Martinez’s goal against Seattle was the team’s second shot on goal. Atlanta United finished with 10 shots and 63 percent of the possession.
“It’s important that we have one point away against an amazing team,” Martinez said. “We will see what happens in the next game. In soccer you win with goals, not with possession.”
With the draw, Atlanta United improves to 2-1-3 this season and improved to 1-23-5 on the road when the opponent scores first. Seattle remains unbeaten with 14 points.
“It’s hard for me to talk about the result,” manager Gabriel Heinze said. “I will not care about the result of today because of the way these players performed today. I’m very happy because to see this team, the way the played, how they competed, and how they want to win every game.”
Atlanta United’s starting 11 was composed of Brad Guzan, Lennon, Robinson, Anton Walkes, George Bello, Santiago Sosa, Emerson Hyndman, Franco Ibarra, Erik Lopez, Moreno and Martinez. The team was without injured players Ezequiel Barco and Jurgen Damm for the fourth consecutive game, and centerback Alan Franco, who sustained an injury in last week’s game.
Atlanta United started poorly.
First, Lennon gave the ball away with a poor pass in the opening minute. Then, Bello did the same on the other side a few minutes later. He recovered to push the ball out for a corner kick. From that set piece, the 5-foot, 7-inch Ruidiaz, the most dangerous player on the pitch, beat Lennon to the spot and headed in the corner kick from eight yards away to give Seattle the lead in the sixth minute. It was Ruidiaz’s sixth goal in seven matches.
In the 10th minute, manager Gabriel Heinze received a yellow card because he argued with referee Kevin Stott.
Seattle continued to create scoring opportunities but couldn’t take advantage. Meanwhile, Atlanta United’s attack continued to be ineffective. It took four shots in the first half. One was on goal.
Heinze brought on Jake Mulraney, who assisted on the game-winning goal against Montreal when he came on as a last sub, to start the second half. He replaced Lopez.
Atlanta United earned its equalizer after dominating possession for most of the second half without creating too many scoring opportunities.
And then came the good moment.
Guzan pointed out that Lennon put his hand up in a signal of apology on the Seattle goal and then won the penalty that resulted in the draw.
“It’s not about one guy, and this and that,” Guzan said. “It’s about us staying together.”
Martinez blasted the penalty kick with his right foot to the left side of the goal. It was his 84th goal with the club and 17th by penalty kick. He said he was nervous because it was the first penalty kick he has taken in two years.
“It’s not a habit to score in the last minutes,” Heinze said. “It’s more like the heart and a belief not to give up. The game’s going to be over after 93. Every ball could be the last ball. It’s important to fight to the last minute.”
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Atlanta United’s 2021 MLS schedule
April 17 Atlanta United 0, Orlando 0
April 24 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 1
May 1 New England 2, Atlanta United 1
May 9 Atlanta United 1, Inter Miami 1,
May 15 Atlanta United 1, Montreal 0
May 23 at Seattle, 4:30 p.m., Fox
May 29 vs. Nashville, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
June 20 vs. Philadelphia, 2 p.m., ESPN
June 23 at NYCFC (at Red Bull Arena), TBD, BSSO/BSSE
June 27 vs. New York Red Bulls, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 3 at Chicago, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 8 at Nashville, 8:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 17 vs. New England, 5 p.m., ESPN
July 21 at Cincinnati, 7 p.m., FS1
July 24 vs. Columbus, 3:30 p.m., ABC
July 30 at Orlando, 8 p.m., ESPN
Aug. 4 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Aug. 7 at Columbus, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE
Aug. 15 vs. LAFC, 4 p.m. ESPN
Aug. 18 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m. BSSO/BSSE
Aug. 21 at D.C. United, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Aug. 28 vs. Nashville, 3:30 p.m., Univision
Sept. 10 vs. Orlando, 7 p.m., FS1
Sept. 15 vs. Cincinnati, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Sept. 18 vs. D.C. United, 3:30 p.m., Univision
Sept. 25 at Philadelphia,3:30 p.m., Univision
Sept. 29 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., FS1
Oct. 2 at Montreal, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Oct. 16 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Oct. 20 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Oct. 27 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Oct. 30 vs. Toronto, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Nov. 3 at New York Red Bulls, TBD, BSSO/BSSE
Nov. 7 at Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE