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How Atlanta United overcame a 4-1 deficit to beat San Jose Earthquakes 4-3

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Seriously, what just happened?

MLS: Atlanta United FC at San Jose Earthquakes John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Josef Martinez scored in the dying seconds of stoppage time to seal a stunning win as Atlanta United came back from a 4-1 second-half deficit to win 4-3. Somehow, that’s not a typo.

With Atlanta United playing their second of three games over seven days, Tata Martino opted to go with a mix and match midweek lineup that featured a midfield three of Jeff Larentowicz, Eric Remedi and Julian Gressel. San Jose wasted no time exposing whatever plan Atlanta had in place.

In the 12th minute, a cross from Shea Salinas found the open head of Nick Lima and, quickly, the team with the least points in MLS found themselves up one on the Supporters’ Shield leaders.

Atlanta came close to equalizing a few times, but the attack couldn’t find much fluidity. San Jose capitalized on the inconsistency.

Danny Hoesen broke through in the 43rd minute. His initial shot was parried by an excellent save from Brad Guzan, but Hoesen recovered, thought, and placed an excellent chip over Guzan and into the net.

Cue panic mode from the fan base.

Fortunately, on the verge of entering the half down two to the league’s lowliest team, Tito Villalba offered a little hope and a reason to keep Atlanta fans from hitting their pillows early.

Villalba scuffed an open shot from distance earlier in the game. This time he offered a more finessed approach. A gorgeous curler from the edge of the box found the top right corner and the Five Stripes entered the half trailing by one.

Larentowicz made way for Barco at halftime. Once again, whatever Atlanta’s plan was, San Jose torched it quickly.

In the 58th minute, absolutely no one felt like defending Vako.

And in the 67th, no one felt like defending Chris Wondolowski and San Jose scored to make it 4-1 in a ———

Wait. What.

Uhhhhhhhhh...penalty? Apparently?

A handball in the box from nearly two minutes (Correction: It was more like 30 seconds. The announcers kept saying 1:40 and it was also one o’clock in the dang morning and my head was still spinning.) prior to Wondolowski’s goal gave Atlanta United an uber-delayed penalty and after a 4-1 deathblow, the Five Stripes now trailed 3-2.

While everyone tried to sort out the finest-grade “MLS (TM)” that had just occurred, Miguel Almiron found the time to complete an improbable comeback and tie the game at three.

From there, the game could have ended 7-6 and no one would have been surprised. Both teams went end-to-end the rest of the way and each missed huge chances.

With the game still tied at three, the referee added six minutes of stoppage time. Six extra minutes for this game to somehow get even weirder. You know by now that it did.

Who else but Josef Martinez?

Almiron’s assist to the league’s single-season record holder sealed a wild, frenetic, drunk, absolutely off the rocker bonkers win. Atlanta United now sit atop the Supporters’ Shield standings with a four point lead and I have no idea how it happened.

The Five Stripes now come home for Saturday evening match-up with Real Salt Lake in The Benz. Hopefully three days is enough time for you to catch your breath.