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Charleston Battery misses out in penalty shootout, fall to Atlanta United FC in Open Cup

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/22/24, 12:58AM EDT


Former Championship standout Cohen makes key saves for visitors after scoreless draw at Patriots Point

The Charleston Battery's Nick Markanich battles for possession against Atlanta United FC in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday night. | Photo courtesy Charleston Battery

For the second time in the past six months, the Charleston Battery had control of a penalty shootout.

And, unfortunately on Tuesday night at Patriots Point, the Battery let their opportunity slip away again.

Consecutive saves by 2018 USL Championship All-League selection Josh Cohen for Atlanta United FC in the fifth and sixth rounds sent the side from Major League Soccer into the Quarterfinals of the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as the sides played to a scoreless draw through 120 minutes in Mount Pleasant, S.C. that saw the hosts unable to take advantage of their opportunities.

The Battery gained the early edge in the shootout when goalkeeper Daniel Kuzemka made a good low save to deny United States international Brooks Lennon’s opening effort, and Arturo Rodriguez converted for the hosts to put the Battery ahead.

Former Atlanta forward Jackson Conway, MD Myers and Graham Smith then each converted – with each matched by their United counterparts in the next three rounds – before Atlanta’s Nicolas Firmino scored to open the fifth round to level the game again.

With a chance to seal victory, Diego Gutierrez stepped up and shot low to the bottom-right corner, but Cohen made a one-handed save to send the shootout to a sixth round. Norwegian international Stian Gregersen converted for the visitors, and when Cohen made a one-handed save to deny Charleston’s Aaron Molloy to follow, the Battery’s aspirations of a run that might emulate its 2008 appearance in the Open Cup Final came to an end.

Charleston had been the more assertive side in the opening half of the contest and almost took the lead in the 22nd minute when an inventive pass by Emilio Ycaza found Myers only for Cohen to come off his line quickly to deny the effort. Atlanta had the better chances in the second half but were unable to capitalize, putting only one of its six shots on target.

The Battery then came to closest either side managed in terms of breaking the deadlock two minutes into extra time when a free kick by Juan David Torres took a wicked deflection off Atlanta’s defensive wall, stranding Cohen, only for the ball to hit the left post and carom to safety. The hosts then had two chances in the second period of extra time that saw Myers set up Robbie Crawford for a chance that was blocked before Myers himself fired over after a slide-rule pass by Molloy threaded through the Atlanta back line.

As positively as the Battery performed, however, the side was left to rue its missed opportunities as history was left to wait for another year.

Scoring Summary

Penalty Shootout

Charleston Battery – Arturo Rodriguez, scored; Jackson Conway, scored; MD Myers, scored; Graham Smith, scored; Diego Gutierrez, saved; Aaron Molloy, saved

Atlanta United FC – Brooks Lennon, saved; Daniel Rios, scored; Bartosz Slisz, scored; Ronald Hernández, scored; Nicolas Firmino, scored; Stian Gregersen, scored

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