Josh Yaro's mistake costs Union in draw with Atlanta United


CHESTER, Pa. -- Another Josh Yaro mistake, another draw for the Union.

One week after delivering an unnecessary stoppage time foul that gave the San Jose Earthquakes a game-tying penalty kick over the Union, Yaro made another crucial mistake on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium.

“He’s young,” captain Alejandro Bedoya said. “That’s a little bit of inexperience and a touch of luck. He’ll learn from his mistakes.”

Early in the second half of the 2-2 draw with Atlanta United, the young Union defender let Josef Martinez slip by him on a breakaway in the 52nd minute. It forced Yaro into hauling him down from behind, earning the defender a red-card ejection.

“He’s such a fast guy, strong, he didn’t need to foul him there,” veteran Haris Medunjanin said. “He knows that he’s the last guy so when you foul him you need to get the ball, otherwise you will get the red and that’s what we got.”

After a valiant defensive effort, the Union eventually cracked in stoppage time, when Atlanta’s Tyrone Mears cleaned up a clear by floating a header goal over a committed Andre Blake to lock the final score at two.

“I’m gutted for them because you don’t prepare for Tyrone Mears to score a flukey head ball from almost outside the box,” manager Jim Curtin said. “It was a strange goal and very difficult for the guys.” 

It was a brutal stretch for the Union, now 8-12-7 and three points above the Eastern Conference basement, who watched two leads slip away in the course of one week.

“Devastated for the guys in that locker room,” Curtin said. “It’s not about the playoff race, results that went our way tonight or different things like that, it’s about a group of guys, in this case 10 guys, that finished the game to close it out and win. They put so much into it.”

But despite the late tension, the Union owned the early going. Roland Alberg opened scoring for the Union in the 18th minute, when he fooled the Atlanta back line and accepted a lofted through pass from Giliano Wijnaldum. The potent Dutch scorer took the pass neatly off his chest and poked it past Brad Guzan for the 1-0 Union lead. 

It was Alberg’s sixth of the season.

Union made it 2-0 in impressive fashion in the 24th minute with Bedoya’s first of the season. From the left side, Alberg played a corner kick into the box that was deflected by Jack Elliott and in the air toward the far post. From there, Bedoya connected on an overhead kick to double the Union’s lead.

“It was good to see it go in,” Elliott said. “It was fortunate for me to get a toe in. It doesn’t always work but that one did.” 

But Atlanta would battle back just two minutes later when Martinez played a diving header to the left side for a wide open Yamil Asad to cut the Union’s lead in half, 2-1.

After one of his most impactful games of the season, Bedoya will be suspended for the Union’s next game. Just ten minutes into the contest, the captain clipped Jeff Larentowicz to earn a yellow card. It was his fifth of the season, earning the automatic suspension against Minnesota United on Sept. 9.

“It feels like crap,” Bedoya said. “It’s so frustrating. Sometimes you just need a little bit of luck your way. That’s what this game is about sometimes. Right now, we’re not getting any breaks.”