Just over 18 minutes into Saturday evening's Nashville SC - Atlanta United match at GEODIS Park, a storm system made its trek through middle Tennessee, setting off the latest in a series of weather delays that put a literal damper on the day's MLS schedule.

Nearly three hours later, play finally resumed, and fans that remained at the venue – maybe 30-40 percent, if that, of the sellout crowd of 30,109, minus a pitch invader that was swiftly dealt with by venue security during the stoppage – were treated to a wild first half that saw three goals scored within seven minutes before settling down. And while Hany Mukhtar's goal put Nashville up 2-1 in the 32nd minute moments after they and Atlanta exchanged initial blows, the Boys in Gold pushed to increase the margin.

But it was a lead they ultimately couldn't see to the finish, thanks to Dom Dwyer playing the hero in the 88th minute at about half-past 12 am ET, claiming a road result for Atlanta to snap a four-match losing streak across all competitions away from Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Head coach Gary Smith, during his postgame press conference, mentioned Nashville's heavily-compressed schedule, one that has them playing seven matches in 20 days. That includes Wednesday's 2-1 win over CF Montréal, a May 25 visit to Louisville City in a US Open Cup Round of 16 contest, and a trip out to the Colorado Rapids on May 28.

"The games and the scheduling has an impact, and I just thought in the last 10 minutes or so, we looked a little bit ragged," Smith said. "The quality just deserted us a little bit at the important times. We squandered the ball when really we should have maintained it. And that started to build a little bit of pressure."

He mentioned Atlanta's shift to a back three later on in the match as key to their ability to take hold of the game, building to Dwyer's equalizer.

"We've got to have the ability and quality to work out of there," he said. "We have it. We had fresh legs. We were unable to navigate that, and in the end, [Dywer] steals a march on Daniel [Lovitz] on the far post, and the rest is history, of course."

And perhaps Nashville would have been able to take maximum points of the match from Atlanta, who they beat in the Open Cup's fourth round just 10 days prior, had they cashed in on several chances at a crucial insurance marker prior to the late tally from Dwyer.

"I don't think any of us are thrilled to have let in that last goal," defender Walker Zimmerman said. "The story of the season is the quality of the goals that we're letting our opponent score...It's something that we haven't experienced enough in the past, so we've got to take this one on the chin and move forward."

Despite the draw, Nashville will look to quickly turn the page. A trip to Kentucky to face a Louisville City side that's among the premier second-division clubs (USL Championship) in the country is on tap, with NSC looking to avoid an Open Cup upset in front of what is sure to be a vibrant Lynn Family Stadium crowd.

"I've got to make sure that the team that goes out on the field to begin that game is capable of winning it," Smith said. "I want to go through. I want to be in the hat next round to see who we're playing. It's a great opportunity for the club and for the players to go as deep as we can in this competition."

As for this latest edition of the still-burgeoning Atlanta-Nashville derby – the inter-conference foes don't meet again in the regular season until 2023 – another memorable edition is in the rearview mirror.

"They're always very close, there's always something that happens that's a little out of the ordinary," Zimmerman said. "Comebacks, thrillers, close games, and that adds to the rivalry that's established with geographic locations of the two cities.

"So, there's something brewing there for sure, and they didn't get the best of us tonight, but we still feel like we could have come away with three [points]."