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Cucho Hernandez, Crew settle for draw with Atlanta United

Aug 21, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada (8) dribbles the ball while Columbus Crew midfielder Lucas Zelarayan (10) defends in the first half at Lower.com Field. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Cucho Hernandez scored twice but the Columbus Crew could not hold the lead, allowing visiting Atlanta United to rally for a 2-2 tie on Sunday.

Santiago Sosa scored his first goal in 39 career games in the 21st minute for Atlanta (7-10-9, 30 points) before Hernandez struck in the 66th and 72nd minutes. Juan Jose Purata tied it in the 77th.

The match started 80 minutes late due to inclement weather.

Atlanta’s late equalizer came off a corner kick with Edwin Mosquera whipping the ball to Purata’s head.

The Five Stripes, who are 0-6-5 in their past 11 road games, were in control before Hernandez struck.

Hernandez has eight goals in nine games since joining the Crew (8-7-11, 35 points) on a transfer from English club Watford.

His goal to make it 1-1 came on a counter with Kevin Molino passing to Luis Diaz in the right channel. Diaz’s ball found Hernandez in the middle of the box and he calmly settled it before scoring.

Will Sands got his first assist in five career MLS games to help the Crew assume the temporary lead. He dribbled around several defenders toward the end line, then sent a cross at the 6-yard box. Hernandez moved the ball from his right foot to left before shooting.

Atlanta took a deserved lead into halftime, pouncing on the Crew early and capitalizing on an exquisite strike from an unexpected source.

The Five Stripes nearly took the lead in the 13th minute as Brooks Lennon forced a save by Eloy Room. Atlanta kept pressuring and when a ball from Caleb Wiley landed to Sosa, the midfielder took several dribbles and unleashed a shot from 25 yards that flew under the crossbar.

Room was under siege four minutes later but this time from his teammate, defender Steven Moreira, who knocked a clearance directly at the keeper.

Columbus is 5-1-7 in its past 13 games, including a 2-1 win at Atlanta on May 28.

–Field Level Media