April 9, 2022
USL Championship League Match
Fifth Third Bank Stadium, Kennesaw, GA
Dominance in the South
There were four MLS teams with their affiliates in USL Championship in 2022: New York Red Bulls, DC United (Loudoun United FC), LA Galaxy, and Atlanta United. Three of the teams competed in their final season in the USL, moving to MLS Next Pro league, as MLS and USL separate. Only Loudoun United FC will remain as an investor is looking to purchase the franchise from DC United.
After losing the first three matches of the season, Atlanta United II came into tonight’s fixture on a two-game win streak, beating the Charleston Battery 4-1 and Hartford Athletic 2-1. Youth is Atlanta United II’s focus. Last season, in a match against Louisville City FC, their starting XIs average age was 19.6 years old. And as a developmental team, there is little roster stability. By contrast, Detroit City FC’s seasoned and steady team, with nine players in the starting XI that have started their four previous matches, while Atlanta’s young team have had three players who have started all five of their matches.
Tonight’s referee was Jordan Gray. Having served as an Assistant Referee and Fourth Official in eight previous USL Championship and NWSL matches dating back to 2016, this was his inaugural appearance as the head official. His assistants were Walt Heatherly and Austin Holt. The Fourth Official was Kyle Johnson.
City got off to a fast and flying start, pressuring the kids and creating opportunities, with many close chances in the first 20 minutes. Atlanta United II did sneak in an opportunity in the 19th minute when David Mejia fed a pass to Jonatan Villal, delivering a heavy shot straight at Nate Steinwascher who captured it, though the scorers table classified it as off-target and not as a save for Nate.
In the 23rd minute, City set up for a corner kick. Maxi Rodriguez crossed the ball to Devon Amoo-Mensah, who headed across goal to Stephen Carroll. The Captain struck it into the net for his first USL-Championship goal. City up 1-nil.
Ten minutes later, Rhys Williams muscled the ball off of David Mejia, then sailed it across goal. Antoine Hoppenot ran onto it and headed it past the keeper, Justin Garces, giving City a 2-nil lead.
In the 42nd minute, Antoine Hoppenot flicked the ball into the path of Pato Botello-Faz, who broke in alone and beat the keeper, lifting the City lead to three goals, which they carried into the locker room for halftime.
The half was dominated by City on the pitch and scoreboard. City had 12 shots, with 3 on target to Atlanta’s single shot that was not on target. City held 51.8% of the possession to Atlanta’s 48.2%, though City’s possession was more dangerous.
In the second half, things got chippy. Three yellow cards were shown, one to Robbi Mertz in the 48th minute for a take-down of Antoine Hoppenot, another to David Mejia in the 57th minute for a hit on Stephen Carroll, and a third to Mikey Ambrose for chopping down Hoppenot in the 76th minute. The kids were playing a bit reckless, and their frustration level grew when Darwin Matheus dropped in the box when Devon Amoo-Mensah tackled the ball away in the 77th minute. Atlanta was not awarded a penalty kick. A minute later, Deklan Wynne sent a cross that Connor Rutz ducked, allowing the ball to fall to Michael Bryant. Michael, who had subbed in with Francis Atuahene in the 72nd minute for Rhys and Pato, buried it into the goal giving City a 4-nil lead.
Prior to the kickoff following the goal, Darwin Matheus was shown a straight red card for impolitely objecting to Jordan Gray about the earlier penalty kick he thought should have been called.
In the 81st minute, Abdoulaye Diop subbed in for Connor Rutz, and Bosh Tanyi subbed in for Antoine Hoppenot in the 83rd minute to round out City’s subs.
Things really got ugly as time was winding down. It was in the 86th minute when Nigel Prince, who had subbed in for Atlanta five minutes earlier, delivered a nasty tackle on Brad Dunwell. Dunwell was injured on the play, which took him out of the line-up for several weeks. Players exchanged words with each other. Atlanta’s coach, Jack Collison was carded for entering Detroit City FC’s bench area. The conversation included Matt Lewis explaining the score to Ambrose and Mertz.
Player of the Match: Antoine Hoppenot.
Antoine Hoppenot and Devon Amoo-Mensah were both named to the USL Championship Team of the Week for their performances in this match. Antoine notched a goal and an assist, created three chances, and won 7 of 12 duels. Devon assisted on Steve Carroll’s goal and completed 51 of 57 passes on the night.
Atlanta United II 0, Detroit City FC 4
DCFC: Stephen Carroll (Devon Amoo-Mensah) 23′
DCFC: Antoine Hoppenot (Rhys Williams) 33′
DCFC: Pato Botello-Faz (Antoine Hoppenot) 42′
DCFC: Michael Bryant (Deklan Wynne) 78′
BY THE NUMBERS:
Possession: ATL 51.2%, DCFC 48.8%
Offsides: ATL 3, DCFC 3
Corners: ATL 2, DCFC 5
Passes: ATL 502, DCFC 477
Passing Accuracy: ATL 84.5%, DCFC 79.7%
Shots: ATL 7, DCFC 14
Shots on Target: ATL 0, DCFC 5
Blocked Shots: ATL 2, DCFC 4
Fouls: ATL 10, DCFC 6
Yellow Cards: ATL 3 (Mertz, Mejia, Ambrose) DCFC 0
Red Cards: ATL 2 (Matteus, Prince) DCFC 0
KEEPER KIT RECORD
Winning in yellow.
- Purple Kit: 1 draw
- Yellow Kit: 2 wins
- Blue Kit: 1 win, 1 draw, 1 loss.
IN OTHER USL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES TODAY:
FC Tulsa 3, Pittsburgh Riverhounds 4
Las Vegas Lights FC 2, Colorado Springs Switchbacks 3
Tampa Bay Rowdies 0, Miami FC 1
Rio Grande Valley FC 1, Indy Eleven 2
El Paso Locomotive FC 5, Monterrey Bay FC 0
Orange County SC 0, San Antonio FC 1
San Diego Loyal SC 4, Charleston Battery 1
Phoenix Rising FC 3, LA Galaxy II 1
City Stats Leaders – First 5 Matches
Minutes: Carroll, Lewis, Wynne, Amoo-Mensah, Steinwascher (450)
Goals: Pato (2), Antoine Hoppenot (2)
Assists: Rhys Williams (2)
Shots: Connor Rutz (7)
Shots on Target: Connor Rutz (3)
Passes: Devon Amoo-Mensah (282)
Chances Created: Rhys Williams (10)
Tackles: Rhys Williams (19)
Fouls: Antoine Hoppenot (9)
Yellow Cards: Antoine (2) Devon (2)
Red Cards: 0
From behind me, there was a fan heckling Antoine Hoppenot. His response was simple, directing the fan’s attention to the scoreboard.