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FC Cincinnati hangs on with 10 men for draw at Atlanta United

Sportsnaut
Apr 16, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta United midfielder Thiago Almada (8) defends against FC Cincinnati defender Tyler Blackett (24) in the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United had a man-up advantage for the final 22 minutes of its home match against FC Cincinnati on Saturday, but still couldn’t find the back of the net. The Five Stripes were held scoreless for the second straight game, and settled for a 0-0 draw.

Cincinnati (2-4-1, 7 points) were at a disadvantage in the 76th minute when defender Nick Hagglund was given his second yellow card and his marching orders after a hard tackle near the box. Still, Cincy held its ground for the final moments of regulation and eight minutes of stoppage time, largely thanks to the stellar play of Alec Kann, a Georgia native who recorded six saves for his first clean sheet of the season.

For Atlanta (3-2-2, 11 points), its starting goalkeeper — veteran Brad Guzan — was carried off the field in the 71st minute after suffering an apparent non-contact injury. Guzan came off his line to stop a long ball from Cincinnati, fell over and grabbed his right knee. Bobby Shuttleworth replaced him.

Atlanta had a chance to win late, but Andrew Gutman misfired on three attempts in front of the net in the 95th and 98th minutes. Atlanta had 65.4 percent of possession and fired off 22 shots, but couldn’t gain an advantage on the scoreboard.

Cincinnati got creative with its lineup Saturday, deploying five defenders and playing Dominique Badji — typically a striker — at left back instead of Alvas Powell, who was out with an undisclosed injury.

The experimental lineup didn’t generate much offense for Cincy though. Aside from Brandon Vazquez’s header in the 20th minute, and a right-footed shot from Luciano Acosta that bounced off the woodwork in the 66th, Cincinnati never really got a good look at the net. The club ended the match with nine shots, none of them landing on target.

Making his first career MLS start, Atlanta’s Caleb Wiley featured on the left wing and drove the ball into Cincinnati’s box early and often. In the fourth minute, he let off a shot that was deflected and earned Atlanta a corner kick. In the 62nd, Wiley carved his way into the box until his dribble was halted by a Cincy handball, earning Atlanta a penalty kick. The ensuing attempt by Marcelino Moreno was stopped by a diving Kann though, keeping the match scoreless.

Wiley played 74 minutes before he was relieved by Luiz Ara├║jo.

Emerson Hyndman entered the match in the 81st minute for Atlanta, seeing his first bit of playing time since suffering an ACL injury last June.

–Field Level Media