Atlanta United 2 battled back from a one-goal deficit twice to draw 2-2 versus OKC Energy FC Wednesday night at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. Robbie Mertz recorded his first goal of the season as well as his third assist of the season, while David Mejia scored in his second-straight game.
Despite the rainy conditions, Atlanta dominated possession from the outset and had a consistent presence in the final third. The team had a chance in the 33rd minute when Mertz found Chris Allan in the middle of the final third. The midfielder drove into the open space at the top of the eighteen and fired a shot, but C.J. Cochran made the diving save.
Two minutes later in the 35th minute, Amadou Macky Diop had a chance through a lone defensive effort. The forward made a sliding tackle and poked the ball away from the OKC center back. Then, Macky Diop went one-on-one with the goalkeeper, where he took a heavy touch wide to beat the keeper, but it created a tough angle and his aim was too wide.
OKC jumped on the scoreboard first from a penalty kick in the 39th minute. Villyan Bijev hit a low-driven shot to the left corner, while Rocco Ríos Novo guessed the other way.
Atlanta responded with a goal of its own from a screaming shot by Mertz in the 67th minute. The play began when the ball bounced out to Allan, who took a touch and lined up a shot with his left foot. The shot ricocheted off the post and into the path of the Pittsburgh native, where he nailed the rebound off a one-time shot into the upper-90 of the goal to even the game.
A few minutes later in the 69th minute, Ríos Novo was called upon when Deklan Wynne went one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but the 19-year-old netminder made the kick save to keep Atlanta in the game. However, Bijev secured his second goal of the night to put OKC ahead by one in the 76th minute. The OKC forward broke through the backline on a lofted through ball and placed it side netting.
For the fifth time this season, ATL UTD 2 battled back to earn a point. Mertz drove down the right flank then cut in at the corner of the eighteen, where he found Mejia. The 17-year-old took a touch and fired a left-footed shot into the side netting of the near post to level the game.
ATL UTD 2 (5-7-7, 22 points) will return to action against Sporting KC II on August 14 at Children’s Mercy Victory Field (ESPN+, 5:00 p.m. ET).
Atlanta 2, OKC 2
Fifth Third Bank Stadium
Shots: 19-11 Atlanta
Shots on Target: 7-5 OKC
Corner kicks: 6-4
Fouls committed: 12-5 Atlanta
Possession: 70-30 Atlanta
Passing Accuracy: 86-69 Atlanta
OKC – Villyan Bijev 39’
ATL – Robbie Mertz 67’
OKC – Villyan Bijev (Zachary Ellis-Hayden) 76’
ATL – David Mejia (Robbie Mertz) 90+3’
ATL – Josh Bauer (yellow) 38’
ATL – Caleb Wiley (yellow) 56’
OKC – Deklan Wynne (yellow) 60’
ATL – George Campbell (yellow)
OKC – Jamie Chávez (yellow) 90+5’
ATL UTD 2 STARTING LINEUP
Rocco Ríos Novo; George Campbell (Noah Cobb – 72'), Bryce Washington, Josh Bauer (Darwin Matheus – 45’), Caleb Wiley; Chris Allan, Robbie Mertz ©, Tyler Wolff, Machop Chol (Connor Stanley – 72'), Amadou Macky Diop (Ajani Fortune – 76'), Aiden McFadden (David Mejia – 84')
Substitutes not used: Vincente Reyes, Abdoulaye Diop
OKC ENERGY FC STARTING LINEUP
C.J. Cochran; Mitchell Osmond, Conor Donovan ©, Deklan Wynne; Brad Dunwell, Kodai Iida (Lamar Batista – 45’), Jonathan Brown (Zachary Ellis-Hayden – 45’), Hiroki Kurimoto; Tucker Stephenson (Seyi Adekoya –73'), Villyan Bijev, Aidan Daniels (Jaime Chávez - 73’)
Substitutes not used: Frank López, Kyle Ihn, Muengnenshime Goshit
Izlen Peksenar, (referee), Shane Kennard, (assistant), Ben Rigel, (assistant), Sergii Demianchuk, (fourth official)
- Robbie Mertz scored his first goal of the season, while also registering his third assist.
- David Mejia scored his second goal of the season and has scored in back-to-back games.
- It was the fifth time the team has come back from a deficit to earn a draw.
ABOUT ATL UTD 2
ATL UTD 2 is owned and operated by AMB Sports & Entertainment and is the United Soccer League (USL) affiliate of Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United. ATL UTD 2 joined USL for its expansion 2018 season and plays its home matches at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia.