Charlotte FC falls short against Atlanta United in 2-1 thriller, earn first goal in team history
Atlanta – It was there, and then it wasn't. Charlotte FC was two minutes away from a well-deserved draw against Atlanta United when Jake Mulraney's shot deflected off defender Christian Makoun into the Charlotte net, giving the 2018 MLS champions the 2-1 win at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in front of 43,055 fans.
Though Atlanta dominated early, the game was still even until a Josef Martinez penalty kick put Atlanta ahead 1-0 in the 60th minute after Christian Makoun fouled Brooks Lennon at the edge of the penalty box. Goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina, Charlotte’s most valuable player by necessity so far this season, guessed correctly, diving to his right but could not reach Martinez’s shot.
Six minutes later, Charlotte answered with its first goal of the season, a header by Burlington, NC native Adam Armour off a Ben Bender corner kick. Bender, the top overall pick in the MLS draft started his first game after coming off the bench against DC United and the LA Galaxy.
Armour had come on as a sub in Washington but did not dress for the home opener last week, admitting it was tough to sit that one out.
Losing this match so late in the game was also bitter. "It wasn't the result that we wanted. It hurts to lose a game like that."
Coach Miguel Ramirez said he put Armour into the game to add more aggression to the offense, which he did.
He stared up at the stadium scoreboard in disbelief after the game though he did gain some consolation with his goal. "The first one in (club) history; it's an amazing feeling."
It was also something the team had been waiting for after consecutive shutouts. "It was like ripping the band-aid off," said Armour.
Following a big gap in offense against the Galaxy last week, Charlotte was only edged by Atlanta in shots 14-12, and shots on target 8-7. Atlanta had 11 corner kicks to Charlotte's 5.