Before the crowd of nearly 800, RCU weathered an early storm from the visiting Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves. A clearance off the goal line in the 7th minute by Yuki Kariya helped the home team to avoid conceding early in the match.
United managed to assert themselves on the game more and more as the half wore on, producing numerous shots on the Atlanta goal and a few quality saves from goalkeeper David Martin.
Atlanta opened the second half with some controlling possession. A corner from Brian Hadley in the 53rd minute, though, was flicked to the far post before being slammed into the roof of the net by Fatai Alabi.
The goal from the debut player gave RCU their first lead at home this season, and forward Andrew Nkurunungi nearly doubled that lead just minutes later when he chipped the goalkeeper but watched the ball bounce just wide of the goal.
Rocket City looked well worth their lead as they continued to produce scoring opportunities. The home side could well have increased their lead multiple times as the match wore on, and some questionable offside calls and denied penalties helped to ensure that the scoreline remained close.
Tornubori Nyonebue found the goal for Atlanta in the 80th minute after a ball over the top found him one on one with Tyler Earley. Earley, who put in a strong performance throughout the game, managed to stop Nyonebue's first attempt, but a vicious bounce landed the ball behind the keeper with the Atlanta forward needing only to tap the ball home.
The game grew dicey in the closing minutes, with RCU's Marco Nunez being kicked in the face with only a yellow card as punishment, and Nkurunungi's late penalty shout being ignored by the referee.
Three minutes of stoppage time were added at the end of the half, with disaster striking for RCU in the final minute.
Following a controversial foul call outside the box, Atlanta sent the ball into the penalty area, finding the head of Kingsley Morgan and sparking a riotous celebration from the Atlanta bench.
With both Chattanooga and the Georgia Revolution dropping points in their games on the same night, RCU's late submission means a huge missed opportunity to go top of the region's table. They will face another difficult home test next Saturday as Chattanooga FC travel to Madison for a game that will surely prove pivotal for both.