Atlanta United 2 drew Las Vegas Lights FC 1-1 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium Saturday evening. Nelson Orji headed in a set piece to open the scoring and Justin Garces recorded a personal-best eight saves for the second match in a row.
Garces made multiple important saves in the first half, including a stop on a breakaway chance for Danny Trejo. The Homegrown goalkeeper stopped Trejo’s shot with his face to keep the score-line level.
Las Vegas goalkeeper Tomas Romero returned the favor in the 38th minute, sprawling to get a palm to a Nick Firmino header.
Orji opened the scoring early in the second half, getting his head on the end of a Raimar corner at the edge of the six-yard box in the 48th minute. The goal was the Nigerian’s second of the season.
The hosts thought they doubled their advantage just minutes later as Darwin Matheus shifted through the Las Vegas defense and to the byline before chipping a cross to the back post for Firmino. After the midfielder headed the ball toward goal and off defender Dekel Keinan, Atlanta players thought the ball had crossed the line; however, the officiating staff ruled that no goal was scored.
Lights FC forward Cal Jennings found the equalizer in the 80th minute. Alvaro Quezada lofted a ball over the Atlanta back line, which Jennings shielded from a defender before poking a finish to the left of Garces.
Atlanta was reduced to 10 men in stoppage time after Orji brought down Jennings as the last man back.
ATL UTD 2 (4-16-4, 16 points) travels to Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama to take on Birmingham Legion on Saturday, August 6 (7:30 p.m., ESPN+).
Atlanta 1, Las Vegas 1
Fifth Third Bank Stadium
Shots on Target: 9-5 Las Vegas
Corner kicks: 13-5 Las Vegas
Fouls committed: 13-11 Atlanta
Possession: 53-47 Atlanta
Passing Accuracy: 88-85 Atlanta
ATL – Nelson Orji 48’ (Raimar)
LVL – Cal Jennings 80’ (Alvaro Quezada)
LVL – Daniel Crisostomo 38’ (yellow)
ATL – Bryce Washington 82’ (yellow)
ATL – Nelson Orji 90+1 (red)
ATL UTD 2 STARTING LINEUP
Justin Garces; Bryce Washington (Erik Centeno – 87’), Noah Cobb, Nelson Orji, Raimar; Ajani Fortune ©, Efrain Morales (Toni Tiente – 71’), Nick Firmino (Alan Carleton – 71’); Darwin Matheus (Jackson Conway – 58’), Tristan Trager, David Mejía (Jonantan Villal – 87’).
Substitutes not used: Vicente Reyes, Emenike Nwogu.
LAS VEGAS LIGHTS STARTING LINEUP
Tomas Romero; Morten Bjorshol (Tony Leone – 61’), Dekel Keinan (Chase Bromstedt – 87’), Alejandro Lara, Mohameed Traore; Daron Iskenderian (Alvaro Quezada – 61’), Ima Almaguer (Frank Daroma – 61’), Danny Crisostomo, Christian Torres (Nathan Ordaz – 69’); Cal Jennings, Danny Trejo.
Substitutes not used: Abraham Romero.
Alejo Calume (referee), Seth Barton (assistant), Austin Holt (assistant) Kyle Johnston (fourth official)
- Nelson Orji scored his second goal of the season
- Justin Garces recorded a personal-best eight saves for the second-consecutive game
- Raimar recorded his fourth assist of the season