Atlanta United FC rocked the San Jose Earthquakes on July 4, leaving them in a 4-2 rubble. Atlanta United was fresh off a 2-0 win against Columbus Crew SC, and was ready to face San Jose, who sat comfortably undefeated. But what ended in victory began with Atlanta United fighting to stay on top of the aggressive West Coast club. San Jose scored the first goal within five minutes leaving Atlanta struggling to get in the game. The precision and skill of San Jose caught the expansion team off guard with Atlanta scoring one goal by Carlos Carmona in the 55th minute of the first half. The expansion team couldn’t seem to keep up with San Jose who played a style of fútbol seen on the West Coast and abroad -the Earthquakes are quick, sharp and precise strikers.
The Earthquakes were also hands on, fouling Atlanta United players left and right, but the repeat offender was Kofi Sarkodie who caused a scuffle when he slid into Yamil Asad with both feet. He was issued a yellow card as a result of the incident and was later given a red card ejection in the 32nd minute of the first half. Atlanta United was outplayed by the San Jose Earthquakes who dominated the field with possession and organization in the first half. Michael Parkhurst, Atlanta United team captain, said the club had to exercise more patients instead of being anxious to get forward right away.
“We wanted to be a little more patient, get the ball wide, get some crosses in the box, put them under pressure and just dictate the game. We knew that we could wear them down and I think that’s what happened,” Parkhurst said.
The second half was an altogether different game, with Josef Martínez scoring the second goal putting the club in the lead for a short 11 seconds until Chris Wondolowski, earthquakes forward, scored with a cross from 25 yards by launching a long ball. The goal tied the game 2-2 stunning Atlanta United and the crowd.
It was defender Antone Walkes, who is becoming a bigger presence on the field, that put Atlanta United back in the game. The club tends to score more when they play outside their positions, and Walkes did just that to score the third goal with the assist by Julian Gressel in the 81st minute. The play put Atlanta in a 3-1 lead that was compounded when Martínez scored the fourth and final goal in the 89th minute with the assist by Miguel Almirón. Both Martínez and Almirón were selected to play in the All-Star Match against Real Madrid August 2 in Chicago.
The victory against San Jose was hard won for Atlanta United FC who goes up against Orlando City at Orlando City Stadium on July 21 at 7 p.m. then again on July 29 at 5 p.m. at Bobby Dodd Stadium.