Latif Blessing lifts Atlanta United to draw with Dynamo


Latif Blessing gets on the scoresheet for Houston Dynamo

Latif Blessing gets on the scoresheet for Houston Dynamo

Latif Blessing made the most of his 30-plus minutes as a substitute by scoring the match-tying goal in the waning moments of the second half, lifting the visiting Houston Dynamo to a 2-2 draw with Atlanta United on Saturday in the first meeting between the sides since 2019.

The Dynamo (6-6-5, 23 points) have played to ties in back-to-back matches, while Atlanta (4-8-5, 17 points) has won just once in its past 12 matches (1-6-5). Rob Valentino made his interim coaching debut on Saturday for Atlanta United.

Houston produced the match's first goal in the fifth minute after Griffin Dorsey directed a corner kick off the crossbar. The rebound bounced right to Franco Escobar, who directed a header into the center of the net to give the Dynamo the early lead.

The Dynamo had two more chances to add to their lead in the 24th minute when Amine Bassi and Coco Carrasquilla both had shots that Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan turned away. Atlanta United quickly countered, with Daniel Rios outbattling Dynamo defender Micael dos Santos Silva deep in the zone before using his heel to pass the ball to Luke Brennan.

Brennan then passed the ball into the goalmouth to Thiago Almada, whose point-blank shot was deflected by Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark and went straight back to Rios, who made short work of his opportunity to tie the match at 1-1 in the 25th minute.

Houston pressed for the lead early in the second half, with Ibrahim Aliyu forcing Guzan into a save in the 48th minute. Derrick Williams answered for Atlanta, pressing Clark into action in the 54th minute.

Xande Silva then dribbled through two Houston defenders and moved toward the goal line before unleashing a shot from an extreme angle into the upper right corner of the net that gave Atlanta United the lead in the 55th minute. Caleb Wiley and Almada were awarded assists on the tally.

Houston again applied pressure, but Blessing was stopped by Guzan on an excellent chance in the 84th minute. Blessing then produced the equalizer in the 89th minute, turning around a pass from Carrasquilla after a secondary assist by Dorsey.

--Field Level Media