CINCINNATI, Ohio – Atlanta United played FC Cincinnati to a 1-1 draw Wednesday night in interim head coach Rob Valentino’s debut. Ronald Hernández started his first match for the club and scored his first professional club goal in the second half. Josef Martinez also came on as a second-half substitute, appearing in his first match since May 29.
Despite a scoreless first half, each team had plenty of chances that resulted in a combined 18 shots with seven on target. In the 10th minute, Marcelino Moreno took a free kick from about 30 yards out that nearly curled into the top left corner, but ultimately clanked off the crossbar. Jackson Conway then had a chance in the 22nd minute when Moreno played the Homegrown forward through, with Conway forcing Kenneth Vermeer to make a tough save. Alec Kann came up big throughout the rest of the half, making three saves in a five-minute stretch to keep the game level.
Luciano Acosta opened the scoring in the 61st minute. Brenner played Acosta into the penalty area, where Acosta sidestepped an Atlanta defender and perfectly curled a right-footed shot past Kann.
Atlanta quickly responded with Hernández scoring his first goal with the club in the 70th minute. Brooks Lennon dribbled the ball into Cincinnati’s box and towards the end line before cutting back a cross through the middle of the area, where a touch from Machop Chol found Hernández. The Venezuelan international smashed a right-footed shot past Vermeer for his first professional club goal.
Atlanta continued to search for the winning goal in the game’s final minutes. In the 86th minute, Moreno won a free kick on the edge of the box. Martinez stepped up to take it and hit a right-footed strike aimed for just inside the far post that forced a diving save from Vermeer.
Atlanta had another big chance in stoppage time, as Jake Mulraney made a long run down the right side of the field before playing Moreno in behind the back line. The Argentine found himself one-on-one with Vermeer and tried to place his first-time shot inside the near post, however the Cincinnati goalkeeper was able to make the save.
Atlanta (2-4-8, 14 points) returns to action Saturday when it hosts Columbus Crew SC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (3:30 p.m., ABC, Sports Radio 92-9 The Game, La Mejor).
Atlanta United 1, FC Cincinnati 1
Shots: 22-14 Atlanta
Shots on Target: 9-6 Atlanta
Corner kicks: 12-6 Atlanta
Fouls committed: 10-9 FC Cincinnati
Offside: 3-1 FC Cincinnati
Possession: 56-44 Atlanta
Passing Accuracy: 84-80 Atlanta
CIN – Luciano Acosta (Brenner) 61’ [HIGHLIGHT]
CIN – Joe Gyau (yellow) 38’
CIN – Gustavo Vallecilla (yellow) 45+3’
ATL – Santiago Sosa (yellow) 64’
ATL – Ronald Hernandez (yellow) 71’
CIN – Luciano Acosta (yellow) 86’
ATLANTA UNITED STARTING LINEUP
Alec Kann; Ronald Hernández (Mikey Ambrose – 90’), Anton Walkes ©, Alan Franco, Brooks Lennon; Santiago Sosa, Amar Sejdić (Matheus Rossetto – 65’), Marcelino Moreno; Machop Chol (Erik Lopez – 73’), Jackson Conway (Josef Martinez – 65’), Jake Mulraney.
Substitutes not used: Ben Lundgaard, George Campbell, Alex De John, Tyler Wolff, Erick “Cubo” Torres.
FC CINCINNATI STARTING LINEUP
Kenneth Vermeer; Edgar Castillo, Gustavo Vallecilla, Geoff Cameron, Joe Gyau; Haris Medunjanin, Luciano Acosta ©, Caleb Stanko; Brenner, Isaac Atanga (Brandon Vazquez – 73’), Alvaro Barreal (Nick Hagglund – 79’)
Substitutes not used: Przemyslaw Tyton, Tom Pettersson, Nick Hagglund, Avionne Flanagan, Ben Mines, Franko Kovacevic, Quimi Ordonez.
Tori Penso (referee), Eric Boria (assistant), Jeffrey Greeson, (assistant), Baldomero Toledo (fourth), Kevin Terry, Jr. (VAR), Mike Kampmeinert (AVAR).
- Jackson Conway and Ronald Hernandez each made his first start for Atlanta United.
- Ronald Hernández scored his first professional club goal.
- Alec Kann made five saves.
- Machop Chol recorded his first career MLS assist
- Atlanta recorded a season-high 22 shots and nine shots on target.
ABOUT ATLANTA UNITED
Atlanta United joined Major League Soccer in 2017 and won the 2018 MLS Cup in just its second season, the earliest an expansion team has won the title since 1998. The club has set multiple league records including season tickets sales (36,000-plus), single-game attendance (72,548), single-season average (53,002) and total home attendance (901,033). Owned by Arthur M. Blank, and led by club President Darren Eales, Atlanta United plays its home matches at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. For more information about Atlanta United, including how to purchase season tickets, visit: www.atlutd.com, and follow @ATLUTD.