On Wednesday, August the 14th, Atlanta United beat Club America to lift the Campeones Cup trophy. It didn’t come easy for Atlanta as it was a tough game. Club America were the champions of the Mexican League last year, which sought to see them pitted against Atlanta. Club America played one of their top squads, while Atlanta took a risk and played a mostly rotational side. Perhaps the biggest change for Atlanta was playing Alec Kann, who at that point hadn’t played for more than a year and a half for Atlanta in Mercedes Benz Stadium. Kann was a key player to the match though, as he produced several impressive saves.
Goals were plentiful, as the final score was 3-2, in favor of Atlanta. Emerson Hyndman put Atlanta up in the 4th minute with a goal from a great team effort. Club America switched gears after that and scored in the 13th. Atlanta had a chance to make it 2-1 with a penalty in the 40th minute. Unfortunately, Josef Martinez’s shot was deflected by America’s goalkeeper. After that, Club America doubled its lead in the 57th minute. Hopes were low for Atlanta. They had been struggling the past few minutes and it didn’t look like they could come back from this. Jeff Larentowicz changed that, in dramatic fashion. In the 59th minute, he took a chance from yards outside the box and the ball flew into the net. The score was tied. 7 minutes later, Florentin Pogba was brought down in the box by a Club America defender. A penalty was quickly awarded for Atlanta. Tensions were super high. As a conversation went down on the field, between Pity and Josef Martinez, the whole crowd was silent. The dramatic penalty miss earlier in the game was having a huge effect. Josef Martinez placed the ball down in the center of the box. He stepped back, closed his eyes, took a breath, muttered something and ran up to kick the ball. He did his signature stance of jumping in the air, so the keeper couldn’t predict his direction. Seconds later, the crowd erupted as Martinez slotted the ball into the left side of the goal. After that, there were a few more chances for both teams to either extend or equalize the score. It ended 3-2.
Jeff Larentowicz lifted the Campeones Cup trophy as all the players, staff, and the fans cheered. The Campeones Cup is Atlanta’s first international trophy. It makes this their second official trophy overall. You could call it the third trophy though if you consider the Eastern Conference Cup trophy a legitimate trophy. Atlanta could win their third/fourth trophy in 2 weeks when they face Minnesota United in the US Open Cup final. They could also make it five/six with the MLS Cup.