In their second meeting, Atlanta United 2 again went toe-to-toe with the defending United Soccer League champions Louisville City FC, but lost 2-1 on a last-minute penalty kick Saturday night in front of 8,683 fans at Louisville Slugger field. Laurent Kissiedou scored his second goal of the season while Alessandro Castro made his professional debut, becoming the fourth current Atlanta United Academy player to debut with ATL UTD 2 this season.
“I’m proud of the team today despite a result that really stings,” said ATL UTD 2 head coach Scott Donnelly. “This is a game that both shows our ability as a group and moves our players forward in their development. To come to Louisville and stretch them the way we did should give our group confidence. Unfortunate in the end, but a big step forward.”
ATL UTD 2 started the match fast and produced two shots on goal and three corners in the opening 10 minutes. Atlanta nearly took the lead in the 20th minute when forward Jon Gallagher ripped a shot from the outside of the 18-yard box that was destined for the top-right corner, but a diving save from Louisville goalkeeper Gregory Ranjitsingh kept the match scoreless.
Moments later, Louisville struck first in the 24th minute after Devon Williams’ shot from the edge of the penalty area took a deflection and fell behind the Atlanta defense. Forward Cameron Lancaster ran on to the loose ball and buried a left-footed shot into the bottom-right corner to put the home side up 1-0.
ATL UTD 2 kept applying pressure and fought back to equalize in the 31st minute. Lagos Kunga ran right at the Louisville backline before laying off a pass for Laurent Kissiedou. The Ivorian rifled a left-footed shot from outside of the box which took a deflection and found the back of the net for his second goal of the season. It was also Kunga’s second assist of the year.
Each side pushed for the game-winner before Louisville substitute Luke Spencer drew a foul inside of the box in the 90th minute to earn a penalty. Ilija Ilic stepped up to the spot and converted his attempt in the top-right corner. Atlanta United Academy player Will Crain, 18, started at center back for the second consecutive match while Castro, 18, made his professional debut when he entered as a substitute in the second half.
ATL UTD 2 (2-5-3, 9 points) returns to action Friday, May 25 against North Carolina FC at 7:00 p.m. EST at WakeMed Soccer Park. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+.