Brenden Aaronson

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Philadelphia Union teen pegs Atlanta back in 1-1 draw

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18-year-old Philadelphia Union youth product Brenden Aaronson bagged his first MLS goal as they went to Mercedes-Benz Stadium and earned a 1-1 draw with Atlanta United.

Frank De Boer, new boss of the defending champions, has come under fire for the team’s poor start to the season, and Sunday’s result will only serve to feed the critics with new ammunition. Atlanta held upwards of 70% possession through the match, but generated just two total shots on target.

The best chance of the opening half for the home side came in the 37th minute as Pity Martinez burst down the left and fed Josef Martinez who made a run down the middle splitting the center-backs. Martinez stretched to reach it, but it was just too far. His slide took him into Andre Blake and left last year’s MVP in a heap, but he came back on after a lengthy treatment.

Philadelphia had its own chance down the other end moments later as Fabrice-Jean Picault got free down the center, one-on-one with the goalkeeper Brad Guzan who he shook with a touch to the right. He had an open goal to shoot at from a tight angle to the right, but Miles Robinson made it back to clear off the line.

The opener came just two minutes after the halftime break, Aaronson created his own chance out of nothing, not closed down at the top of the box and shooting past a rooted Brad Guzan. Frank de Boer would make a 67th minute substitution to bring on Ezequiel Barco, and that would pay dividends just three minutes later as Atlanta equalized on a blistering Barco header.

Philadelphia thought it would go a man up in the 92nd minute, but the referee gave only a yellow card to Leandro Gonzalez after taking down Corey Burke who was free on goal. The ensuing free-kick sailed just agonizing inches over the bar off the foot of Haris Medunjanin. The shared points moved Atlanta to just two points on the season through the first three matches, five off the Eastern Conference leaders already. Philadelphia, meanwhile, earned its first point of the campaign with the draw.