Atlanta United celebrated independence day with fireworks that not only celebrated America’s birthday but also a fifth straight home win. After a slow first half, Atlanta answered with four goals in the second half to beat the Earthquakes. The win moved Atlanta to 4th in the Eastern Conference, just one beautiful point ahead of Orlando City.
The Five Stripes came out pretty (really) cold. After being shocked by the news of Alec Kann being sidelined with injury for 4-6 weeks, Atlanta fans were skeptical of how Kyle Reynish would perform, and he got off to a less than stellar start. While Reynish was definitely not completely to blame, the ‘Quakes found the back of the net just two minutes into the game.
Kofi Sarkodie was sent off in the 32nd minute after receiving two yellow cards. Sarkodie getting the boot seemed to be the spark Atlanta needed, and they fully turned things around for the remainder of the game. Though they entered halftime scoreless, United saw some great chances in the first half.
Then, in the 55th minute, Atlanta United broke through when Carlos Carmona finished a sitter after David Bingham saved a header from Josef Martinez. It would be the first of many second-half goals for the Five Stripes.
Atlanta continued to pressure and took the lead in the 65th minute when Greg Garza found Josef Martinez for his first goal of the night.
When all the momentum seemed to be owned by the Five Stripes, San Jose responded when Wondo equalized just moments after Atlanta took the lead. Many blown chances later, United regained the advantage when Anton Walkes (yeah, you read that right) headed home a cross from Julian Gressel in the 81st.
A beautiful run built up by both Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez resulted in Martinez earning his brace and secured Atlanta United’s third straight MLS win and fifth straight home win. The goal was Martinez’ ninth of the season, making him the team’s leading scorer once again.
The Five Stripes are off until the 21st for the international break. When they return, they will face Orlando City twice in a row in a home-and-home. The second match against Orlando on the 29th will be the last one at Bobby Dodd Stadium, so while it will be sad to leave a place that feels like home, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will blow all of our minds. That’s a story for another time, though. For now, let’s just enjoy another win.