Seattle Sounders 2, Atlanta United FC 4: Sounders battle back in second half, fall short in first-ever meeting with Atlanta

CHARLESTON — Atlanta United FC defeated the Seattle Sounders 4-2 in the second match of the Carolina Challenge Cup on Wednesday.

A first-choice Atlanta side took a 2-0 lead just three minutes into the match against a Sounders team that did not start any of its regulars.

Josef Martinez scored in the opening minute after a giveaway from Sounders guest player Quinton Griffith. Miguel Almiron doubled Atlanta’s lead two minutes later when he converted a penalty kick called on Darrius Barnes.

Atlanta took a 3-0 lead in the 21st minute when Hector Villalba got free on the right side and slotted a shot past Bryan Meredith. United then went 4-0 up just after halftime when Martinez bagged his second on a beautiful chip.

The Sounders clawed back in the second half as they sporadically substituted more of their starters, but could not fully make up the deficit. Henry Wingo scored the opener for Seattle in the 62nd minute off a feed from Will Bruin before Bruin scored one of his own on a header in the 74th.

Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso checked in at halftime and recorded his first minutes of the preseason after recovering from a knee problem.

The Sounders now have one point through two Carolina Challenge Cup matches after drawing 1-1 with the Charleston Battery last Saturday. The Sounders will finish the CCC on Saturday when they battle Columbus Crew SC (1:30 p.m. PT,