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Carolina Challenge Cup: Day Two Recap

A wild second day.

Standings PTS GD GF GA

  1. Columbus Crew 4 +1 3 2
  2. Atlanta United 3 +1 5 4
  3. Charleston Battery 2 0 2 2
  4. Seattle Sounders 1 -2 3 5

Charleston Battery vs. Columbus Crew

Matchday Two kicked off with an enthralling fixture, as both Charleston and Columbus stood top of the CCC table at the start of the day. The Battery were just as engaged during this match as they were against the Sounders, playing up to the level of their MLS opponents once again. The hosts took the lead in the 26th minute, as Justin Portillo’s corner found a towering Forrest Lasso for the header and a goal.

Charleston’s defense remained stout early on in the second half, frustrating the Crew in the process. However, unfortunate mistakes continue to hinder the USL side in this tournament, as Brian Anunga’s attempted clearance in the 63rd minute found its way into the Battery’s net for their second own goal in as many matches. Both clubs had to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Atlanta United loanees Chris Goslin, Jeffrey Otoo, Alexander Tambakis and Romario Williams all started for Charleston.

For a more in-depth recap of the match, read up on the analysis from Black & Yellow Post’s Johnathan Ace.

Atlanta United vs. Seattle Sounders

This match was, in a word, crazy. It’s definitely the first match of the tournament where there’s a plethora of topics that can be talked about.

To summarize, Atlanta United flew out of the gates with goals from Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron in the 1st and 3rd minutes of the match, against what was essentially a Seattle Sounders reserve team. Martinez took advantage of a poor turnover from Seattle’s backline and evaded goalkeeper Bryan Meredith for a simple tap-in. Almiron converted from the spot for his first Atlanta United goal after Julian Gressel was pushed inside the box.

Atlanta’s avalanche of offense continued with a 21st minute goal from Hector Villalba, who sprinted down the right flank and calmly megged Meredith to give United a 3-0 lead heading into the second half.

Atlanta started the second half like they did the first, with a goal from Martinez. He showcased his skill with a cheeky chip over Meredith in the 47th minute, making it four goals in three matches for the Venezuelan.

The momentum of the match took a dramatic shift when Tata Martino subbed off all his attacking threats. Sounders’ Henry Wingo scored in the 62nd minute and that led to Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer bringing on most of his regular starters. The Sounders pulled another one back in the 75th minute after a header from Will Bruin, but Atlanta United managed to hold on for a 4-2 win.

How Atlanta United can win the CCC

First the bad scenario. If Columbus beat Seattle on Saturday, they win the CCC. If Seattle can get a point that’s when Atlanta United have a chance to win. If the Crew drop points, United would win the CCC with a win over Charleston. Charleston could also win if they take all three points from Atlanta and have a better goal differential than the Crew.

It should be noted, the Battery have never lost to their MLS affiliate in this tournament. Hmm, that sounds like a challenge...

Carolina Challenge Cup: Matchday Three

Columbus Crew vs. Seattle Sounders 2/25, 4:30 p.m.

Atlanta United vs. Charleston Battery 2/25, 7:00 p.m.