Brek Shea gave Miami a deserved lead after 80 minutes, only for the hosts to give up the equalizer almost immediately after the restart. The sides’ 1-1 draw means that Atlanta remains above the playoff line, while Miami continues to languish in the bottom four of the Eastern Conference.
The visitors failed to register a shot in the first half, with Miami in total control before the break. Gonzalo Higuain stung the hands of Brad Guzan after minutes, but the USMNT veteran was able to recover the rebound before the Argentine could pounce.
Higuain – a summer arrival from Juventus – continued to ask serious questions of the Atlanta defense, taking seven shots before the interval. Guzan stood tall in the face of sustained pressure, although a diving block from Miles Robinson also proved vital to keeping the game goalless at halftime.
The contest followed a similar pattern after the break: Miami could do everything but score. Scottish winger Lewis Morgan was a constant threat down the right flank, combining well with Victor Ulloa in midfield.
With the game still deadlocked after 80 minutes, the fresh legs of Shea proved pivotal to Miami finally taking the lead.
A fine dribble from Morgan allowed the MLS rookie to float a pinpoint cross towards the far post, where Shea was on hand to rifle a low volley beyond the reach of Guzan.
Had the score remained 1-0, Diego Alonso’s side would have gone into their next match occupying a playoff spot. Unfortunately for the Uruguayan coach, Atlanta would strike back within 200 seconds.
Mexican winger Jurgen Damm raced down the right flank, breaking beyond the flailing Nicolas Figal before teeing-up Jake Mulraney for an equalizer against the run of play.
Diego Alonso – ‘The big problem was losing concentration’
After the game, USMNT midfielder Will Trap spoke to reporters about Atlanta’s late equalizer: "We're disappointed. For eighty minutes we outplayed them. We had another lapse of concentration and they scored. Its concentration. It's never one mistake. It's a multitude of mistakes. It’s the whole group taking responsibility.”
Trapp continued: "We need to be more aggressive after we score. We relaxed. It's purely mentality. It’s a concentration aspect. It’s taking responsibility as a group. It’s a mentality thing and not relaxing after we score."
Miami head coach Diego Alonso shared in his players’ disappointment. "I think the explanation was simple,” the Uruguayan said, adding: “The big problem was losing the concentration. This should've been a win for us. The frustration is obvious. But we keep our head high and we trust our players."
Alonso told reporters that his team had to find new ways of staying concentrated throughout their fixtures: "If I knew I would've fixed this problem. The players need to find it. After we scored, we need to be able to take the game. It’s a weird feeling of we're letting the game go. We have to be more compact and more focused."
Inter Miami: Saturday, October 17 at Montreal Impact (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+, CBS4 Miami in the US; TSN 1/4, TVA Sports in Canada)
Atlanta United: Sunday, October 18 at Toronto FC (7:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+, FOX Sports Southeast in the US; SN 1/4 in Canada)