Atlanta United fell 4-3 to Rio Grande Valley FC at Fifth Third Bank Stadium Wednesday night. Captain Robbie Mertz recorded a second-half brace to give Atlanta a one-goal lead, but RGVFC Toros rallied with a pair of late goals to steal the three points.
Rio Grande Valley opened the scoring in the 22nd minute. Defender Wahab Ackwei found the run of Emilio Ycaza with a long ball over the top of Atlanta’s defense. The midfielder touched down the pass, ran into the penalty area and toe-poked a finish to Rocco Ríos Novo’s left.
The visitors doubled their advantage four minutes later. Isidro Martinez was sent down the right flank with a free kick before finding Adolfo Hernandez with a cross-box pass. Hernandez opened his body and swung his right boot at the close-range scoring opportunity, tucking it away inside the left post.
Atlanta earned a penalty in the 45th minute. Mertz was sent through by a long ball from Aiden McFadden before his run was impeded by Toros goalkeeper Tyler Deric. Raimar placed the ball on the spot, scoring his first ATL UTD 2 goal with a stutter-step penalty shot.
Early in the second half Mertz found the equalizer, half-volleying a left-footed shot into the back of the net from Raimar’s headed cross in the 50th minute. The strike was the midfielder’s first goal of the 2022 season.
The Atlanta captain doubled his goal tally in the 65th minute and it was Raimar who once again assisted him. The Brazilian winger was found on the left side of the Toros’ box before sending a ball of his own to the edge of the six-yard box. Mertz was there with a diving header to take a 3-2 lead for the hosts.
The Texas club re-established a tie in the 76th minute through Robert Coronado, who netted a one-timer past Ríos Novo after a one-two exchange with José Torres.
The duo of Torres and Coronado combined again in stoppage time, as the former’s cross went off the shoulder of the latter for the 4-3 match winner.
ATL UTD 2 (2-9-1, 7 points) travels to AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tennessee to take on Memphis 901 on Saturday, June 1 (8:30 p.m., ESPN+).
Atlanta 3, Rio Grande Valley 4
Fifth Third Bank Stadium
Shots: 20-13 Rio Grande
Shots on Target: 7-6 Rio Grande
Corner kicks: 4-1 Rio Grande
Fouls committed: 15-14 Atlanta
Offsides: 3-0 Rio Grande
Possession: 52.1-47.9 Rio Grande
Passing Accuracy: 76.9-75.5 Rio Grande
RGV – Emilio Ycaza 22’ (Wahab Ackwei)
RGV – Adolfo Hernandez 26’ (Isidro Martinez)
ATL – Raimar 45+1’ (penalty)
ATL – Robbie Mertz 50’ (Raimar, David Mejía)
ATL – Robbie Mertz 65’ (Raimar)
RGV – Robert Coronado 77’ (José Torres)
RGV – Robert Coronado 90+1’ (José Torres)
ATL – Efrain Morales 55’ (yellow)
RGV – Jose Francisco Torres 64’ (yellow)
ATL – Raimar 78’ (yellow)
ATL UTD 2 STARTING LINEUP
Rocco Ríos Novo; Aiden McFaden, Efrain Morales, Nelson Orji (Grant Howard – 45+4’); Brendan Lambe, Ajani Fortune, Robbie Mertz ©, Nick Firmino (Jonantan Villal – 81’); David Mejía (Luke Brennan – 81’), Jackson Conway (Tristan Trager – 91’), Raimar.
Substitutes not used: Dagoberto Romero, Darwin Matheus, Erik Centeno.
RGV FC TOROS STARTING LINEUP
Tyler Deric; Jonathan Ricketts, Wahab Ackwei, Jesús Vázquez, Stefan Mueller; Isidro Martinez, Emilio Ycaza (José Torres – HT), Juan Cabezas ©; Juan Pablo Torres (Robert Coronado – 65’), Duilio Herrera (Ricky Ruiz – 55’), Adolfo Hernández (Frank López – 67’).
Substitutes not used: Javier Garcia, Dylan Borczak,
Izlen Peksenar (referee), Art Arustamyan (assistant), Kevin Huet (assistant), Aleksander Zhelyazkov (fourth official)
- Raimar records first professional goal and assist
- Robbie Mertz scores first goal of the season
- Robbie Mertz records brace
- Rocco Ríos Novo makes ATL UTD 2 return