Brenden Aaronson put the Philadelphia Union ahead shortly after halftime in his MLS debut, but Ezequiel Barco equalized moments after coming on as a substitute to help Atlanta United salvage a 1-1 draw on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Meanwhile, the defending MLS Cup champions are also sputtering out of the gate with only two points, both earned at home, while having balanced league play with Concacaf Champions League commitments.
- THE BIG PICTURE: It looked better for a stretch after Barco's introduction, but the final third is still a major struggle for Atlanta, whose first effort on target Sunday came in the 64th minute. Perhaps some time off will help. Having played six matches in 18 days between domestic and continental competition, those Five Stripes not being called into international duty have 13 days to wait for their next league fixture.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It wasn't the prettiest of goals, appearing to take a deflection on its way past wrong-footed goalkeeper Brad Guzan, but Aaronson will surely remember this moment — and the deafening silence in the stadium that followed — for the rest of his life.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Aaronson, graded on a bit of a curve. He may not have had the most quality on display on Sunday, but he excelled in what was arguably the most difficult task: Handle the midfield string-pulling in your MLS debut for a team that desperately needed a result. Oh, and you're facing the defending champs in one of the league's most hostile away environments.