It was a dream start for Atlanta as they struck within the first five minutes of the match via a set piece. A free kick off the foot of Jake Mulraney found Walkes, who got just enough of it with his head to sneak it past Joe Willis for the club's first goal since June 20 — also courtesy of Walkes.
Nashville, though, came close to the equalizer in the 13th minute, only for Hany Mukhtar's right-footed strike to be turned aside by a sprawling Alec Kann. But Jalil Anibaba made the most of the resulting corner kick as his header beat Kann to put Nashville on terms.
Despite Nashville holding the edge through the remainder of the half, neither team was able to break the deadlock. That changed as Nashville was awarded a penalty after Cubo Torres was whistled for a clear hand ball in the box on a Nashviille corner. Mukhtar stepped up to the spot and calmly fired it past Kann to put the hosts ahead in the opening stages of the second half.
Moments later, C.J. Sapong touched home a headed ball from Mukhtar to seemingly make it 3-1, but Video Review determined that Sapong received the ball in an offside position and the goal was taken off the board.
It was a break for Atlanta, and they took advantage of it in the 59th minute through Jackson Conway. The homegrown Player, who entered in place of Torres in the 53rd, headed it past Willis on a corner kick routine for his first goal in MLS and second for the club across all competitions to make it 2-2.
Nashville later had their second goal of the night called offside as Mukhtar appeared to have made it a brace for himself in the 63rd after finding himself in acres of space in front of Kann. No Video Review was required for this one as the assistant referee's flag went up immediately after the ball crossed the line.
Atlanta, though, would be forced to navigate the latter portions of the match with 10 men. Mulraney's sliding tackle on Randall Leal with just over 15 minutes to go saw referee Joseph Dickerson reach for his back pocket and brandish a red card. But despite both sides pushing for a late match winner, it ended with them sharing the points.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Both teams had players out on international duty, but Atlanta's situation was much more dire with several others out due to injury, forcing several new faces into Gabriel Heinze's lineup. They'll be encouraged to at least come out of Nashville with a point, but will be forced to take on the New England Revolution next Saturday without Santiago Sosa due to yellow card accumulation and Mulraney due to a red card suspension. For Nashville, it's certainly two points dropped as if not for a pair of offside decisions against them, they likely would have come away with a win.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Was this a red card on Mulraney? Eventually, it was upheld after a second glance and, as things stand, the Irishman will be unavailable for Atlanta's match against the New England Revolution on July 17. Take a look:
- MAN OF THE MATCH: His score from the spot early in the second half ended up being his only contribution to the scoresheet, but Mukhtar's presence was felt in the attack throughout the evening. The German led all players with six shots — four on target — and could have added at least an assist to his total if not for an offside call.