Happy 4th of July everyone! To have a home match on a holiday was quite the treat, as Bobby Dodd hosted the club’s 8th straight sold-out home match (44,974 in attendance). For roster changes, it was announced before the match that goalkeeper Alec Kann would miss 6-8 weeks with a left quad injury so Kyle Reynish got the start in the net.
It was not the start that fans had hoped for. San Jose got an early goal from Tommy Thompson when he found open space and slotted a low strike in the corner netting.
Things got chippy in the 10′ when San Jose’s Kofi Sarkodie lunged at Yamil Asad with what appeared to be his studs showing. Atlanta United players were livid with the referee at his decision to give Sarkodie a yellow instead of a red. There were so many fouls in the first 20 minutes it was hard to keep up.
In the 31′ Kofi Sarkodie earned a second yellow for a clear elbow to the face of Tito Villalba and was ejected from the match. With so much tension on the pitch, it’s a miracle that only one red card was given in the first half.
United finally struck gold in the 55′ when a monster header from Josef Martinez was deflected to the feet of Carlos Carmona who scored the tying goal.
But Martinez would indeed get his goal. In the 64′ a short cross from just outside the 18 (yard box) from Greg Garza found the head of Josef Martinez who rocketed the header past the shoulders of goalkeeper David Bingham.
But an immediate response happened for San Jose when Nick Lima sent a monster cross far post for to Chris Wondolowski who struck a killer volley past Kyle Reynish in the 66′. This took all of 11 seconds after Martinez’s header proving once again, a team is most vulnerable right after scoring a goal.
A massive sigh of relief came in the 80′ minute for United fans when Anton Walkes headed home a free kick from Julian Gressel to give Atlanta United the lead 3-2.
On a clean 3 v 1 opportunity, the final nail in the coffin was hammered when Miguel Almirón led a pass to Josef Martinez who rocketed the fourth goal for the club on the night.
In stoppage time before the final whistle, a gruesome tackle by San Jose’s Victor Bernárdez earned him a straight red.
While Anton Walkes won the Heineken Man of the Match, my Man of the Match goes to Josef Martinez. Without his two goals, we would’ve drawn with a team that played with 10 men for 59 minutes.
The final score was 4-2 in favor of The Five Stripes. Their next home game is July 29 against Orlando City.