KENNESAW, Ga. – Atlanta United 2 picked up its first victory of the season with a 4-3 victory against the Miami FC on Wednesday night at Fifth Third Bank Stadium, rallying past the visitors who twice took the lead before conceding three second-half goals to fall to a second defeat of the season.
Playing its first game since the resumption of play, Miami got out to an ideal start when in the 13th minute Miguel Gonzalez’s shot from the top-left of the penalty area span into the feet of Mohamed Thiaw, who controlled and put away a simple finish for the visitors.
The defensive issues that had shown themselves in Saint Louis to start the season persisted for the visitors, however, and in the 27th minute an error set up a big chance for Atlanta’s Phillip Goodrum, but the forward slid his finish wide of the right post after being one-on-one with Miami goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre. The hosts leveled four minutes before halftime, though, as a cross from the right by Jack Gurr floated to the back post and was met by Macky Diop for a close-range finish.
Miami regained the lead just two minutes into the second half as its high pressure upfield caused a turnover that saw Harrison Heath get into space on the left side of the penalty area and center for Sebastian Velasquez to finish. But the lead was short-lived as Diop struck again for Atlanta, just over a minute later. A deflected cross by Gurr fell to the Senegalese forward, who powered home a finish from 14 yards into the top-left corner of the net.
The visitors almost took the lead for a third time in the 66th minute when El Salvador international Tomas Granitto played a good combination with Thiaw to get into the right side of the penalty area, only for Atlanta goalkeeper Ben Lundgaard to deny his low finish.
Atlanta took the lead for the first time on the night three minutes later, however, as Jackson Conway scored his third goal of the season on a well-worked free kick that shook the forward free in the center of the penalty area for a first time finish off a centering pass by Gurr. Already on a yellow card, Conway was sent off in the aftermath of the goal for taking his jersey off in celebration, reducing the hosts to 10 men.
Miami was unable to take advantage of its extra man over the final 20 minutes, and with three minutes to go Atlanta scored what proved to be a crucial insurance goal. Amir Bashti initially had a low shot to the near post from the left side of the penalty area saved by Sylvestre, but he regained the rebound and delivered a looping cross to the back post where David Mejia was on hand to head home.
Mejia’s goal proved essential in the seventh minute of stoppage time when former Atlanta player Romario Williams headed home an angled cross from Heath into the back of the net. Atlanta saw out the remaining minutes, however, to take all three points from a seven-goal thriller.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Macky Diop, Atlanta United 2 – Diop put home a pair of goals to keep Atlanta on level terms and had three shots and one key pass overall in an entertaining performance up front.