Atlanta United opened their 2018 U.S. Open Cup campaign with a 3-0 win against their former USL affiliate Charleston Battery in front of a sellout crowd at Fifth/Third Bank Stadium.
Alec Kann came up big early on, as he partially saved an attempted cross from Charleston’s Neveal Hackshaw in the 4th minute before Leandro Gonzalez Pirez cleared it out of the box entirely.
The breakthrough came for the Five Stripes in the 14th minute, as Andrew Carleton made the most of his first team opportunity and scored a screamer from around 25 yards out to make it 1-0. This was Carleton’s debut goal for the first team, and hopefully the first of many.
Romario Williams nearly added to the lead in the 26th minute, as the Jamaican took on an opposing defender before seeing his attempted shot saved by Odisnel Cooper.
The Battery attempted to take advantage of their height through multiple free kicks in the first half, but Kann did well to punch the opportunities away and keep a clean sheet through the first 45. Atlanta went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
United quickly added to their fortunes, as Williams was brought down by Skylar Thomas for a penalty in the 47th minute. Ezequiel Barco stepped up and slotted it past Cooper to double their advantage.
Williams continued to haunt his former team, as he found the back of the net after a terrific run and shot outside of the box in the 65th.
On the other side of the field, Kann came up with a point-blank save just minutes later after a Charleston header nearly brought the visitors a glimmer of hope. It was good to see the Decatur native put in a terrific effort and preserve his clean sheet after limited minutes throughout the start of the season.
It was Kevin Kratz’s defensive efforts that solidified the score, as he cleared two Battery shots off the line in quick succession during the 79th minute.
In the end, Atlanta moves on to the Round of 16 and fans went home happy after a 3-0 victory. The 5th Round draw can be seen Thursday morning at 11 a.m. on the US Soccer Facebook page. Find out who and where Atlanta plays next on their quest for U.S. Open Cup glory.
Also, well done y’all.
Official attendance: 9,742. Highest attended sporting event in Fifth/Third Bank Stadium history.— Haris Kruskic (@HKruskic) June 7, 2018