Jamaican Williams hattrick seals dramatic draw for Atlanta in US soccer league

Rochester Rhinos vs. Charleston Battery at MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston, S.C. on Saturday, April 15, 2017. Zach Bland Photo

NEW YORK,  CMC – Reggae Boy Romario Williams lashed in a dramatic injury time goal to complete a sensational hat-trick as Atlanta United 2 sealed a share of the points in a topsy-turvy 3-3 draw against Charlotte Independence in the United Soccer League Championship last weekend.

Playing at the Sportsplex at Matthews in North Carolina, the 24-year-old Williams netted twice in the first half to give Atlanta a 2-0 lead at the break, before Charlotte scored three unanswered in the second half, to look poised to snatch the points.

But with virtually the last play of the match in the fourth minute of stoppage, Anderson Asiedu’s right-side cross found Jon Gallagher, whose close-range header was parried by goalkeeper Brandon Miller, only for Williams to calmly slot home the rebound.

Jamaican forward Romario Williams.

The point moved Atlanta sixth in the Eastern Conference and tied on four points with a plethora of teams, while Charlotte remained winless in two outings and 13th on a single point.

Williams had earlier given Atlanta the lead in the opening minute of the contest when he finished off a sweeping move down the right by slamming a right-footed volley into the upper left-hand corner.

Enzi Martinez almost equalized when his left-footed shot struck the uprights in the 40th minute but Charlotte were made to pay for their miss as Williams doubled the lead two minutes later, cutting inside his marker in the box and rolling his shot beyond a despairing Miller’s outstretched hand.

The game turned on its head in the second half, however, as Dominic Oduro pulled one back for Charlotte in the 75th minute before Trinidadian Kevan George found the equalizer 10 minutes later, when he headed in from close range.

And Jorge Herrera appeared to have won it when he scored in the third minute of injury time only for Williams to strike at the death.

At Championship Soccer Stadium at OC Great Park in California, Jamaican Kevaughn Frater scored but his New Mexico United were held 2-2 by Orange County SC.

The 24-year-old was on target in the 33rd minute to help New Mexico to a comfortable 2-0 lead at the break but Orange County hit back through Darwin Jones and Leonardo.

At Talen Energy Stadium in Pennsylvania, emerging Reggae Boy Rashawn Dally found the lone goal in the 58th minute to give Memphis 901 FC victory over Bethlehem Steel FC.

And at Zions Bank Stadium in Utah, Cuban international Maikel Chang sprung a double as Real Monarchs SLC thrashed LA Galaxy II, 5-0.

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