It’s another championship celebration for Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Jeff Larentowicz and Josef Martinez scored six minutes apart in the second half to help lift the defending MLS Cup champions to a 3-2 win over Club America and capture the Campeones Cup Wednesday night.
The match was played at a frenetic pace with both teams probing for goals throughout the scintillating and intense 90 minutes.
It took just five minutes for the first goal to be scored as Emerson Hyndman was played behind by Dion Pereira and finished low inside the far post to put Atlanta in front. The goal was the final touch of a sensational sequence that saw the Five Stripes slice apart Club America’s press with one and two-touch passes.
After putting an open shot off the crossbar four minutes earlier, Renato Ibarra leveled in the 13th minute. Roger Martinez danced along the endline and cut the ball back to an open Ibarra, who put his shot in off the crossbar.
Atlanta United had a golden chance to take a lead into the break as Josef Martinez stepped to the penalty spot when it was ruled following Video Review that Bruno Valdez connected with Pity Martinez in the box.
But after his trademarked run-up, Martinez was denied by Oscar Jimenez, who dived to his left to parry away the low shot in the 41st minute.
The second half picked up where things left off in the opening 45 minutes. Martinez latched onto a Francisco Cordova corner kick and tapping in his second attempt after Hyndman cleared off the line to give Las Águilas their first lead in the 57th minute.
But the Five Stripes leveled a minute later on a wonderstrike by Larentowicz, a low deflected laser past a rooted Jimenez.
Josef Martinez made up for his saved first-half penalty kick by converting from the spot in the 65th minute. He shed the runup and fired into the side netting after Guido Rodriguez took down Florentin Pogba with a sloppy sliding tackle.
Pity Martinez nearly doubled Atlanta’s lead with a free kick four minutes later, but it was headed off the line by Bruno Valdez, who was sent off for a second bookable offense in the 72nd minute.
- 5’ — ATL — Emerson Hyndman | WATCH
- 13’ — CA — Renato Ibarra | WATCH
- 57’ — CA — Roger Martinez | WATCH
- 59’ — ATL — Jeff Larentowicz | WATCH
- 65’ — ATL — Josef Martinez (PK) | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: This is what we hoped for and then some. The questions leading up was about how seriously both teams would take the game and that was answered emphatically in a breathtaking 90 minutes. The bar was raised in Year 2 of the Campeones Cup.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It wasn’t the winner, but Larentowicz turned the match in Atlanta’s favor just two minutes after Roger Martinez gave Club America its first lead. And what a strike it was from the ageless wonder. Take a bow, young man, and have another look.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: In a match played at 100 mph, Darlington Nagbe provided a calming presence in the middle of the park in a nearly flawless 90-minute shift.
- ATL: Sunday, August 18 at Portland Timbers (10:00 PM ET | FS1, TSN2, Fox Sports GO)
- CA: Saturday, August 17 vs. Morelia (10:05 PM ET | TUDN)