Atlanta United's Andrew Carleton, shown here after scoring in a preseason game, along with Chris Goslin will represent Atlanta United in the MLS Homegrown Game on Tuesday at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

MLS Homegrown Team plays to controversial draw in rain-soaked evening

For a five-minute span Tuesday night, it seemed as though the MLS Homegrown side had netted a second goal and secured the result in the game against the Tigres U-20 side.

Instead the highlight of the MLS Homegrown game will go down as never having happened.

In the 70th minute, Jesus Ferreira of FC Dallas finessed past the left back at the edge of the box, stepped over the ball multiple times and darted in before curling home a left-footed finish.

But the play was called back on Video Automated Review, as the goalkeeper had illegally picked the ball up to start the initial counter attack. Tigres was awarded an indirect free kick from inside the penalty area, and scored on the ensuing kick to tie the score at 1-1, where it would stay for the rest of the game.

“The future of the league, is in my opinion is very bright,” said Homegrown coach and Atlanta United assistant Tony Annan, who noted his pleasure with the team’s performance. “The quality that was out there tonight, I thought we showed there are some excellent young players in the league.”

Annan later held his tongue on the VAR decision.

Atlanta United’s two representatives — Andrew Carleton and Lagos Kunga — both showed well in the rain-soaked affair. Carleton, who captained the side and played the entirety of the first, showed flashes of his tremendous skill. He also assisted the lone Homegrown goal on a free kick he took from 45 yards away.

“I thought Andrew at times showed his class,” Annan said. “He does things that other players don’t do, and don’t dare to do.”

Added Carleton, who was named MVP of the game: “It was an honor representing Atlanta, representing the league, my family.”

Kunga was subbed on in the last 20 minutes, but found the ball often and displayed his speed down the wing.

Annan noted — and Kunga confirmed — that is was hard for him to provide his normal energy off the bench, after playing a full 90 minutes twice in the last week. 

“But I was happy with the way he worked defensively,” Annan said, “which is one of his objectives is to get better defensively when we don’t have the ball.”

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.