For about 15 minutes during the first half of last night's match against a short handed Atlanta FC, it looked like Rocket City United might be on it's way to another frustrating 1:0 loss. RCU's play in the first portion of the match looked disheveled and uninterested. Red card suspensions and multiple injuries forced Atlanta FC to travel with only 12 players, with the only substitute available being the back-up goalkeeper. However, Atlanta came out with the better of the play early and RCU soon gave up a soft goal when two defenders failed to clear the ball from danger and Atlanta's Aziz Izmour pounced on the mistake to put Atlanta up after 12 minutes.
RCU seemed to settled down after giving up the goal, and they would take advantage of two set pieces to get back into the match. In the 30th minute Jacob Letsholo drove a corner kick deep into the penalty area that sailed over the Atlanta defenders and found Alexander Munro who struck a brilliant first-time volley. The shot took a deflection on its way into the back of the net to bring the match level.
The goal gave RCU confidence and they would begin to assert their short passing game along the flanks to create chances. In the 41st minute, good work from Fernando Sanchez and Derek Pirtle won another corner in which Brian Kimbugwe's strong header forced Constant Matey in the Atlanta goal to parry. Matey's parry was weak, however, and the ball bounded invitingly off the right post for Derek Pirtle to power into the gaping goal for the 2:1 lead.
RCU's goal was rarely threatened in the second half, while RCU continued to find space in the flank and whipped in crosses that troubled the Atlanta defense. In the 73rd minute, Brian Kimbugwe's late run into the penalty area met another Fernando Sanchez cross, but Kimbuqwe's narrowly angled volley missed wide.
In the final 15 minutes, Atlanta dialed up the pressure and some uncharacteristically sloppy play from Michael Gustavson in the RCU goal provided some exciting moments, but Atlanta never really threatened the RCU goal. Frustration bubbled over for Atlanta when in the 87th minute, Atlanta midfielder Oscar Olivia threw a vicious elbow at the head of Derek Pirtle. Olivia's name was noted by the referee Justin Brown and Olivia was ejected for his violent conduct. Three minutes later, referee Mr. Brown blew full time on a RCU victory.