By Siobhan Nolan, Contributing Writer
The Union looked like they were headed for a devastating loss against Atlantia United, but heroics from striker Cory Burke and center back Jakob Glesnes salvaged a draw, and therefore a point, for the Boys In Blue.
The first half saw a pretty even distribution of possession, but Atlanta unquestionably had better and more plentiful scoring opportunities. Andre Blake was forced into some nervy saves, but was able to keep Atlanta from finding the back of the net in the first 45 minutes.
The Union’s best chance came from Anthony Fontana, who had Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan all but beat, but a lucky deflection off of Guzan’s foot kept the Union scoreless. Sergio Santos went down multiple times in the first half due to an apparent leg injury of some sort, furthering the team’s offensive woes.
The Union’s main problem in the first half was their inability to maintain possession. Atlanta’s defensive strategy seemed to be less of maintaining a uniform back line, and more assigning one Atlanta player to cover a Union player, effectively suffocating the midfield, and not allowing creators like Jamiro Monteiro and Alejandro Bedoya any room to get the ball forward.
Both teams went into halftime scoreless, and Jim Curtin was forced to take Santos off in favor of Cory Burke once the second half kicked off. However, once the second half began, so did the Union’s problems.
Kacper Przybyłko got on the scoresheet in the 58th minute, although not in the way he wanted. In an attempt to deflect a cross from Atlanta’s Anton Walkes, Przybylko headed the ball past Blake, putting Atlanta up 1-0. Things were then looking quite hopeless for the Union after an 83rd minute goal from Walkes seemed to seal the 2-0 fate of the game, but the Union weren’t done just yet.
Just one minute after the Five Stripes’ second goal, Burke took advantage of a ball that slipped out of Guzan’s grasp to put the Union back in the game with a 2-1 scoreline. Seven minutes of stoppage time ensued, guaranteeing nail-biting suspense for fans of both teams.
Then, in an automatic contender for Goal of the Season, Jakob Glesnes caught a pass from Jamiro Monteiro and sent it rocketing into the back of Atlanta’s net, leaving Guzan no choice but to flounder as the ball bounced off of the crossbar and past the goal line. It wasn’t pretty, but the points where shared in a 2-2 draw.
Man of the Match: Glesnes. Obviously.
The Main Takeaway: It’s eternally frustrating when the Union can’t seem to get it together until they absolutely have to in big games like this, but credit must be given where it’s due. Going down 2-0 in the last ten minutes of regular time could’ve easily depressed the spirits of the Union, but they fought with a vengeance until the very last minute. If they can show more of that urgency and fire throughout the entire 90 minutes, the Union won’t have any problems overcoming whatever opposition teams throw at them.