The Charleston Battery defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks 2-1 in the Second Round of the 2017 US Open Cup. Photo: Dave Williamson | Atlanta Silverbacks
A steamy day in Atlanta gave way to a barn burner of a match, as the traveling Charleston Battery defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks 2-1 in the second round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The Battery took the lead in the 19th minute, as Ryan Arambula’s perfect free kick found a towering Forrest Lasso for a point blank header. Arambula made it painfully obvious that he was aiming for Lasso, pointing and talking to him before the ref called for the kick to be taken. However, even with the entire stadium knowing Charleston’s plan, the Silverbacks had no answer for the 6’5 center back.
A lack of shots made for a pretty dull rest of the half, until the 44th minute when Jeffrey Otoo, on loan from Atlanta United of MLS, tapped in a Ricky Garbanzo cross for his first professional goal and a 2-0 lead heading into halftime.
The Silverbacks didn’t have their first shot on target until the 55th minute, when Abraham Lansana’s header fell safely into the hands of Battery keeper Odisnel Cooper.
Atlanta finally found a breakthrough in the 73rd minute, as Lansana was brought down in the box for a penalty. Alex Nyarko-Harlley converted from the spot to bring the Silverbacks within one.
They nearly found the equalizer just three minutes later, as Joao Johanning hit the crossbar from 20 yards out. That was ultimately Atlanta’s last opportunity to tie the match, as the NPSL side’s comeback attempt fell short.
The Battery have now won 12 straight tournament openers, the second longest streak of the Modern Era (Rochester Rhinos have 15, which is still an active streak).
This is not the same Atlanta Silverbacks team that reached the quarterfinals of the 2014 Open Cup, beating Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids in the process. The NASL’s inability to find new ownership for the club before the 2016 season kept them out of the league this year. This resulted in the NASL suspending the Atlanta franchise, forcing the Silverbacks to drop down to the NPSL and lose sources of revenue in the process.
The Battery will take on the NASL’s Jacksonville Armada in the Third Round on May 31. The winner of that game will travel to Atlanta to take on Major League Soccer’s newest franchise, Atlanta United in Round 4.