The first half saw Atlanta United 2 enjoy the majority of the possession and chances to score, but the Greens were the ones able to capitalize and take the lead into the break. Kodai Iida was fouled in the box, giving Energy FC a chance to go ahead from the penalty spot. Up stepped Bijev in the 39th minute, who calmly sent Atlanta goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo the wrong way and slammed the ball into the left side netting for his eighth goal of the season.
The hosts found an equalizer through their captain, Robbie Mertz in the 67th minute. Chris Allan’s effort from outside the box caromed all the way back out of the penalty area and right to a waiting Mertz, whose was able to convert the first-time strike.
Second-half substitute Zach Ellis-Hayden provided a spark off the bench and help create the Greens’ second goal in the 76th minute. Ellis-Hayden received the ball on the right, cut inside the field and scooped a pass over the Atlanta defense to find a sprinting Bijev. Bijev took a perfect touch to control the ball into the penalty area, and then calmy guided a low shot past Rios Novo to put OKC ahead.
Energy Nation hearts were broken in the 93rd minute when Mertz made a run down the right and fed David Mejia, who drove a low, left-footed shot past Cochran from the top of the penalty area to equalize.
Energy FC improves to 22 points and remains in 5th place in the Central Division.
Next up for OKC is a trip to Indy Eleven on Saturday, August 14 at 6 p.m. CT.
The Greens return home to Taft Stadium on Sunday, August 22 at 5 p.m. CT against Louisville City FC. That match’s theme is Supporters Night and will feature various activations to honor our incredible fans. Tickets are available at energyfc.com/august22.
OKC: Bijev (Penalty), 39’
ATL: Mertz, 67’
OKC: Bijev (Ellis-Hayden), 76’
ATL: Mejia (Mertz), 90+3’
ATL: Bauer (Yellow Card), 38’
ATL: C. Wiley (Yellow Card), 56’
OKC: Wynne (Yellow Card), 60’
ATL: Campbell (Yellow Card), 64’
OKC: Chavez (Yellow), 90+5’
OKC Starting XI: GK: CJ Cochran; D: Conor Donovan (c), Mitch Osmond, Deklan Wynne; M: Jon Brown (Zach Ellis-Hayden, 45’), Kodai Iida (Lamar Batista, 45’), Hiroki Kurimoto, Brad Dunwell; F: Aidan Daniels (Seyi Adekoya, 73’), Tucker Stephenson (Jaime Chavez, 73’), Villyan Bijev
Subs not used: Kyle Ihn, Mueng Sunda, Frank Lopez
ATL Starting XI: GK: Rocco Rios Novo; D: Bryce Washington, George Campbell (Stanley, 72’), Josh Bauer (Matheus, 45’), C. Wiley; M: Tyler Wolff, Chris Allan, Robbie Mertz; F: Machop Chol (Cobb, 72’), Amadou Diop (Fortune, 76’), Aiden McFadden (Mejia, 84’)
Subs not used: Reyes, Diop