Atlanta United was scheduled to kick off U.S. Open Cup play against their USL affiliate, the Charleston Battery, at 7:30 pm, but mother nature had something else in mind. A lightning storm came rolling through Kennesaw, resulting in an almost three-hour delay. Many fans left as conditions appeared to only get worse, but at 9:40 pm, Atlanta United announced the game would kick off at 10:10, almost three hours after the scheduled kick off. For the second time this season, it was well worth the wait.
Well, not right away. Just three minutes into the game, Forrest Lasso found the back of the net after O’Brian Woodbine threw a throw-in all the way into the box. Atlanta 0, Charleston 1
Atlanta looked completely flustered in the opening minutes but began to slowly pick it up as time went by. Josef Martinez had a few chances where he completely made something out of nothing, but wasn’t able to find the net.
Then, in the 30th minute, Atlanta equalized. Kevin Kratz was the man who finally beat Odisnel Cooper for Atlanta’s first goal of the game and Kratz’ first goal in the Five Stripes. Atlanta 1, Charleston 1
Charleston quickly answered. Miles Robinson deflected a Dante Marini shot into the net just seconds after Atlanta scored to retake the lead. Atlanta 1, Charleston 2
Without a shank from Woodbine on a penalty kick towards the end of the first half, the Five Stripes would’ve found themselves down two scores heading into the locker room. But things got better in the second 45.
Josef Martinez WILL score tonight.
— SportsTalkATL.com (@SportsTalkATL) June 15, 2017
See that? That’s something we’ve been waiting to say for a while – mainly because it’s a bet that we’ll almost always win. In the 48th minute, Brandon Vasquez sent a perfect cross to Martinez who scored his first goal back with the team after an injury that we will no longer speak of. Including the preseason, It was Martinez’ 10th goal with the team in eight games. Atlanta 2, Charleston 2
Finally, in the 72nd, Atlanta took the lead. Another beautiful cross from Mikey Ambrose found the boot of Brandon Vasquez for his second goal with Atlanta and what turned out being the game winner. Atlanta 3, Charleston 2
Atlanta fans still had to hold their breath a few times before the final whistle was blown, but Alec Kann and the players made sure they were moving on to the round of 16.
Tata Martino wasn’t too happy after the game. Martino planned on subbing in Carleton eventually in the game, and I’m sure playing Martinez and Almiron for 90 minutes was never on the agenda. “We made a lot of errors and the team didn’t fulfill the game plan we had going in..” said Tata. That being said, it will be interesting to see what happens on Saturday when the team plays for the second time in four days, this time against the Columbus Crew.
As far as the US Open Cup goes, Atlanta will travel a little further south to play Miami FC, who just upset Orlando City on Wednesday night. Atlanta will be the favorite in the match, but after seeing Miami knock off a really good MLS team in Orlando City, there’s no telling what will happen.