Charlotte FC vs Atlanta United match score, recap for MLS football


Christian Fuchs and Charlotte FC are still looking for their first point of the season.

Christian Fuchs and Charlotte FC are still looking for their first point of the season.


Charlotte FC left Atlanta with their first goal, but without a win or even a draw. A late shot scored by Atlanta United in the 96th minute handed Charlotte a 2-1 loss in their third Major League Soccer game.

Charlotte dropped its first three games of the season, with the last coming to its Southeast rival on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The result was almost a bright spot after back-to-back losses for the new team, but Charlotte instead left with belated grief.

“It really hurts,” Adam Armor said. “But I want to move forward, the opportunities will continue to present themselves.”

Charlotte scores her first goal

Despite Atlanta’s late shot from Jake Mulraney and Charlotte’s offense looking overwhelmed early on, second-half substitutions made the difference. Armor came off the bench for midfielder Titi Ortíz, and in the 66th minute he headed in Charlotte’s first-ever goal.

Ben Bender sent a cross from the corner into a group of his teammates, and Armor found the ball in the center of the box and dropped it past Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan into the bottom left corner of the net.

“Everybody likes to score goals,” Armor said. “But being the first in history is an incredible feeling.”

He noted that the end result was not what the team wanted, but that the connection was a “step in the right direction” for the expansion team.

“We know we have the quality to win the game,” Armor said, likening the opening goal to a “tear off the bandage” moment for the club which struggled to find attacking timing at the start of the season. .

Charlotte FC head coach Miguel Ángel Ramírez said after the game that Armor had made his decision difficult on the roster this week and had worked his way into the game thanks to solid workouts.

Bender, Kahlina’s flagship match

After a slow first half, Charlotte found some rhythm, finishing the game with a comparable number of shots. Charlotte took 12 shots (seven on goal) while Atlanta took 14 (eight on goal).

SuperDraft pick Bender made his debut in Charlotte’s starting XI as a winger, with Yordy Reyna out with an injury he recently picked up. Bender, a 20-year-old Adidas generation player from the University of Maryland, didn’t score a goal, but he provided crisp feeds throughout the game and then continued to find free space near the net. Atlanta. It was a good start for the rookie. Bender said Ramírez spoke to him earlier in the week and told him he would be in the starting lineup. Bender said, “Today was just a waiting game.”

He looked comfortable on the pitch despite having limited MLS experience and being a winger.

“The first half is always difficult to break the opponent,” Bender said. “We started playing calmer and the opportunities came from there… I think just whipping the balls in from the (east) wing really good.”

Goaltender Kristijan Kahlina also posted another solid performance, registering six saves, matching that of Atlanta goaltender Guzan. He simply wasn’t able to stop two of Atlanta’s shots, the first on a penalty converted by Josef Martínez after Christian Makoun was called for a foul on Brooks Lennon in the penalty area.

Atlanta’s second goal came during the seven extra minutes of second-half stoppage time, when Mulraney fired the ball with his left foot from the right side of the box, sending it deflecting Makoun and into the net.

Is the rivalry real?

Even before there was a team, there was a rumored rivalry, thanks in large part to Charlotte FC team owner David Tepper, who took a first hit in Atlanta following the announcement of Charlotte’s MLS expansion bid in December 2019.

“To hell with that other city,” Tepper said at the time, calling the Charlotte-Atlanta game “one hell of a rivalry.”

Atlanta United president Darren Eales also fanned the flames earlier this year, sarcastically commenting on Charlotte’s lofty goal of setting up a playoff game despite lacking designated players on its roster.

“Setting the bar by finishing in the top four in the conference makes me a little nervous about who they’re going to sign in the coming weeks,” Eales said of the preseason. “But it’s good because it raises the bar for everyone, so you know, we’re excited about that.”

Last weekend, Charlotte broke the league single-game attendance record held by Atlanta on its home debut, hosting a crowd of 74,479 fans at Bank of America Stadium. Turnout was just as strong for Sunday’s game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with Atlanta hosting a crowd of 43,055 fans to watch the league’s new team play one of its most successful.

The regional rivalry between supporters is real, but on the pitch? Charlotte didn’t get the win, but at least proved she could hold on.

This story was originally published March 13, 2022 7:07 p.m.

NASCAR and Charlotte FC beat reporter Alex Andrejev joined The Observer in January 2020 after an internship at the Washington Post. She played Division I volleyball at Columbia University before earning her master’s degree at the University of Southern California.
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