Silverbacks tie United with late penalty kick

ATLANTA - Minnesota United FC failed to come away with three points in Atlanta as the Silverbacks tied the Loons with a late penalty kick goal.

With the draw, the United extended its North American Soccer League unbeaten streak to seven games.

Minnesota got off to a fast start in the second half. A through ball was played to the left side of the box to United forward Christian Ramirez who was level with the Atlanta defensive line. Ramirez dribbled past Atlanta keeper Joe Nasco and put the ball in the back of the net, good for his seventh tally on the season. The Silverbacks thought he was offsides, but the referees disagreed.

Atlanta increased the pressure on the Minnesota goal as the game went on, throwing more men forward with each passing minute. The final five minutes of the match were spent inside or around Minnesota's penalty area, forcing the United defense to make desperate clearances.

The breakthrough for Atlanta came late in the match as a foul just outside the box gave the Silverbacks a free kick in the 90th minute. Pablo Cruz stepped up to take the kick and fired it into the four-man United wall. The ball struck the arm of Daniel Mendes and the referee pointed for a penalty kick as United players swarmed in protest.

Cruz easily slotted the ball past Minnesota keeper Mitch Hildebrandt to level the match at 1-1.

After the match, several players continued to object to the referee's decision as Atlanta fans rejoiced at saving a point from the Spring Champions. Minnesota head coach Manny Lagos was not happy with the result either.


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