Toronto FC managed to escape with a draw against Atlanta United on Saturday night, with a late-game goal from Brandon Servania securing a 2-2 tie in front of a crowd of 27,892 fans at BMO Field.
The draw marked the sixth unbeaten game for Toronto, which has struggled to find wins this season with just one victory in 14 league games. Toronto’s defence has shown improvement, but the team’s attack has been found wanting.
Despite the draw, coach Bob Bradley remains optimistic about his team’s progress.
“Getting a late goal is important because we’ve had chances in other games where a late goal could have gotten us three points,” he said. “There were moments where we played pretty well and had some control, but it was inconsistent. It was a roller-coaster.”
Atlanta United took an early lead with a goal from Giorgos Giakoumakis in the fourth minute, but Canadian fullback Richie Laryea responded with a highlight-reel goal in his 100th game for Toronto, tying the score in the 43rd minute.
In the 76th minute, substitute Machop Chol looked to have secured the win for Atlanta with a header from a Luiz Araujo cross, but Servania’s late-game heroics spoiled the visitors’ hopes.
The draw also marked the return of star winger Lorenzo Insigne, who came on in the 77th minute for his first action since exiting 34 minutes into the Feb. 25 season opener with a groin injury. Insigne, the highest-paid player in MLS, had missed the previous six matches.
“It’s good to get him back on the field, it’s a start,” said Bradley, while noting he needs more time to get him back at his best.
Toronto captain Michael Bradley was held out of the starting lineup as a precaution after feeling something in his lower leg before the game, according to his father, coach Bob Bradley. The veteran midfielder had played every minute of the previous seven games this season.
Despite missing some key players, both teams offered surprises with their lineups, including the absence of Argentina World Cup winner Thiago Almada from Atlanta United’s roster due to a leg issue.
Toronto FC will look to secure its second win of the season on Wednesday against the New York Red Bulls, while Atlanta United will take on Nashville SC on Sunday.