Full Time

The Full Time Clip: Charlotte FC Triumphs in 5-Goal Thriller Against Atlanta United


Charlotte FC come back to win 3-2 against rivals Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with three of the five goals coming in the second half.

First Half

Lineup: Kahlina, Uronen, Privett, Malanda, Bryne, Westwood, Bronico, Urso, Vargas, Agyemang, Abada

Atlanta made an early statement to Charlotte FC in the 2nd minute when a wide ball found Brooks Lennon, who squared it centrally to Saba Lobzhanidze, only for Lobzhanidze to sky the first-time shot.

Following this, both teams had a spell of sharing possession without posing any real threats until Charlotte nearly sabotaged themselves in the 9th minute. Nathan Byrne, unaware of his surroundings, attempted a back pass to Kristijan Kahlina, which was intercepted by Lobzhanidze, who missed the one-on-one opportunity just wide.

Atlanta began to take control of the game through their wingbacks, creating chaos down the flanks. Three minutes after their golden opportunity, U.S. international Caleb Wiley beat his man down the left side and placed a cross in the middle for the oncoming Tristan Muyumba, who couldn’t capitalize.

On the opposite side, Lennon set up another opportunity at the far post with his trademark crossing ability, but to no avail. Charlotte was forced to defend against an onslaught of attacks as Atlanta dominated the first 25 minutes.

Charlotte found their first clear chance in the 28th minute when a whipped cross from Jere Uronen off a corner reached Malanda, who managed to hit it cleanly but directly at Atlanta’s goalkeeper Josh Cohen.

Atlanta finally got their deserved goal in the 35th minute when Lobzhanidze, once again involved, attempted a cross that took a deflection and landed in the path of Thiago Almada. Almada, Atlanta’s talisman, made no mistake in giving Atlanta the lead.

However, Charlotte caught a lucky break in the 40th minute when a corner kick bounced off Atlanta’s center-back Derrick Williams and into his own net. Initially not called a goal, an extensive VAR review determined the ball had indeed crossed the goal line, leveling the match at one apiece.

Second Half

Lineup: Kahlina, Uronen, Privett, Malanda, Bryne, Westwood, Bronico, Urso (82’), Vargas (90’), Agyemang, Abada (82’)

Substitutes: Diani (82’), Smalls (82’), Dejaegere (90’)

The second half began much like the first but with a twist: a big mistake nearly led to a goal, this time in Charlotte's favor. Striker Patrick Agyemang pressed goalkeeper Josh Cohen, who appeared uncomfortable on the ball. Agyemang almost stole it, but Cohen barely managed to clear his lines.

However, Charlotte’s newest Designated Player would soon take matters into his own hands.

In the 56th minute, Liel Abada single-handedly ignited a counterattack from the top of his own box, driving up the field with power and purpose. After some interplay with Kerwin Vargas, Abada found space at the top of Atlanta’s box and curled a beautiful shot into the right corner, giving his team the lead.

Ten minutes later, Abada shocked the home crowd with his second goal of the match, marking his first brace for the club. This well-worked goal started with Jere Uronen passing to Brandt Bronico in the box, who then squared it to a well-positioned Abada. Abada finished cleanly across the keeper.

It seemed like too much damage for Atlanta to recover from, but they found hope in the 76th minute when super-sub Xande Silva shortened the lead to one with a well-placed shot, opening his MLS scoring account.

The pressure mounted as Atlanta rallied to push for an equalizing goal. Charlotte's defense faced intense pressure for the final 20 minutes but stood firm, successfully repelling the siege. Having left everything on the pitch, Charlotte now heads into a well-deserved break with the upcoming international fixtures.