Standings PTS GD GF GA
- Columbus Crew 3 +2 3 1
- Charleston Battery 3 +1 1 0
- Minnesota United 0 -1 0 1
- Atlanta United 0 -2 1 3
Atlanta United vs. Columbus Crew
There was certainly a lot to break down in the opening match of the 2018 Carolina Challenge Cup. To summarize, Atlanta had no answer for the counterattacking threat of the Crew in the first half. A 13th minute goal from Pedro Santos opened the scoring for Columbus, and an attentive Cristian Martinez caught Brad Guzan off his line 20 minutes later with a chip to double their lead heading into the second half.
After the break, Atlanta came out with a sense of urgency. However, any hopeful thoughts were extinguished after Josef Martinez's attempted corner kick clearance found its way into the back of the Five Stripes' net. Atlanta picked up a late consolation goal in the 90th minute when Martinez found Miguel Almiron on a counter. The defending CCC champions continue their impressive run of form in this annual preseason tournament with a 3-1 win.
Charleston Battery vs. Minnesota United
The nightcap saw the lower division hosts upset their MLS counterparts 1-0 after a fortunate goal in the 45th minute. Ian Svantesson's failed attempt to dodge a teammate's shot turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the ball ricocheted off his leg and into the Loons' goal. A second yellow card to MNUFC's Collen Warner in the 83rd minute left the team with ten men and a sealed fate.
Atlanta United homegrown player Patrick Okonkwo played the entire second half for the Battery, while 2018 second round SuperDraft pick Gordon Wild was an unused substitute. Both players will remain on loan to Charleston for the entire 2018 season. Let's hope they both find quality minutes in the Holy City.
Carolina Challenge Cup: Matchday Two
Charleston Battery vs. Columbus Crew: 2/21, 5 p.m.
Atlanta United vs. Minnesota United: 2/21, 7:30 p.m.