After a promising start and three straight wins for new Quakes head coach Chris Leitch, the Quakes’ momentum came to a screeching halt against the Atlanta United Football Club.
The Quakes started well, with Tommy Thompson notching his first MLS goal inside the first few minutes of the game, and the Quakes appeared to be up for the challenge in Atlanta. However, a second yellow card for Kofi Sarkodie at 35′, a make-up call for his 10′ challenge which should have been a red, put the Quakes down a defender on the road against a potent Atlanta offense.
The Quakes held the lead going into the second half, but Atlanta’s offense was too much for a tired and depleted Quakes defense. Atlanta managed to tie the game 10 minutes into the second half on an unmarked Carlos Carmona shot off a Bingham save. Atlanta took the lead 10 minutes later on a Josef Martinez header; Martinez was able to beat Quakes defender Andres Imperiale relatively easily inside the box for the go-ahead goal.
The Quakes would not give up as a Nick Lima cross shortly after the restart found Quakes forward/captain Chris Wondolowski on the far post. Wondo’s shot hit top-netting, and the 10-man Quakes squad found themselves tied with Atlanta with less than 30 to play.
The draw lasted until 81′, when Atlanta’s Anton Walkes beat Nick Lima and Andres Imperiale on a cross from Julian Gressel. Atlanta robbed any hope of points at 89′, when a counter-attack goal beat the Quakes defensive tandem of Andres Imperiale and Cordell Cato.
However, the damage was not yet complete. Quakes defender Victor Bernardez received a straight red after clearing the ball, and having Atlanta’s Martinez slide under his foot on the way down. Two questionable red cards in one game will leave the Quakes without Sarkodie or Bernardez for their next league match.
Andres Imperiale regressed from his previous three starts, which ended with three straight wins. His number can be seen in each of Atlanta’s scoring sequences on the match, including the game-tying goal in which Martinez beats him to a cross, which leads to a Bingham save and rebound opportunity for Carmona, the first go-ahead goal in which he is beaten outright by Martinez, the second go-ahead goal in which he fails to make contact with the cross leading to Walkes’s goal, and the final goal in which he fails to maintain position on Miguel Almiron, leading to Almiron’s assist.
The Quakes play the Los Angeles Galaxy in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals at Avaya Stadium on Monday, July 10, host Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday, July 14, then fly to New York to play the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, July 19th.