Because so many of Kevin Kratz’s Atlanta United teammates have watched him score on “a million” free kicks during training sessions, there was a friendly $5 bet between the players on the bench and a team trainer whether he would convert in Wednesday’s game against New England at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Kratz, the right-footed option, and Chris McCann, the left-footed option, stood over a free kick about 25 yards from goal in the 70th minute. Revs goalkeeper Cody Cropper asked for a four-man wall, put it on the left side of his goal and positioned himself to his right side of the goal to take away the left-footed option.
So Kratz took the shot, hitting a dipping ball over Juan Agudelo and Teal Bunbury, who were standing in the wall, and into his upper right corner of Cropper’s goal to give Atlanta United a 5-0 lead. The Five Stripes would go on to win 7-0.
“I try to practice it every week,” Kratz said. “After practice, I try to take a few balls and off my foot, I thought ‘yeah, this one feels nice,’ and it went in so, yeah, I’m happy.”
It was Kratz’s first league goal for Atlanta United this season in what is believed to be his first free-kick opportunity in a league game.
“Kevin (Kratz) has got that in his locker all day long,” said teammate Anton Walkes, who also scored. “He’s done it in practice many times. It’s something he practices a few times a week and he’s definitely mastered the technique.”
Kratz, a 30-year-old native of Germany, was acquired by Atlanta United in a trade with Philadelphia in December 2016. He appeared in 122 matches in the Bundesliga first and second divisions before joining MLS.
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