Sunday’s draw between Atlanta United and the visiting Seattle Sounders, played in front of an MLS record 72,243 fans, will be viewed entirely differently by the two teams.
Atlanta (12-4-5, 41 points), the team with the best record in MLS play, will look at the home draw as almost deflating after the high scoring unit was contained. Seattle (4-9-5, 17 points), the team at the other end of the MLS table, walks away with a smile on its face, especially considering it played a man down the last 30 minutes after Jordan McCrary was sent off for a second yellow card.
Seattle led 1-0 at the half, but it took all of three minutes for Atlanta to draw even in the second.
Julian Gressel hit a well-placed ball into the penalty box that Josef Martinez got to in between a pair of Seattle defenders. Martinez headed the cross towards the Seattle goal, catching keeper Stefan Frei off the line and tying the game with his MLS-leading 19th goal of the season.
The game’s first goal came in the final four minutes of the first half and was somewhat controversial.
Harry Shipp fired a shot for Seattle that appeared to deflect off the back of Atlanta defender Franco Escobar, giving Seattle a corner.
However, referee Baldomero Toledo went to the video review and determined Escobar had used his arm to deflect the shot, giving Seattle a penalty kick.
Nicolas Lodeiro made the most of the chance, touching the ball past Atlanta goalie Brad Guzan — who got a piece of the shot down the middle as he dove to his left — for the 1-0 Seattle lead.
Atlanta was held in check through the first half, with its best scoring chance coming off a near own-goal by Seattle. Will Bruin misread an Atlanta corner kick and touched a ball towards his own goal, but Frei made a diving save that pushed the ball out for another corner.
—Field Level Media