Atlanta United 2 lost 1-0 to reigning USL Champions Louisville City Friday night at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. Laurence Wyke made his professional debut while Gordon Wild made his first appearance for the team.
“I thought it was a really good team performance tonight,” ATL UTD 2 head coach Stephen Glass said. “We are playing against a really good team that’s being managed by a top coach. They have a really good group of players, so it was an impressive performance from a lot of our players, as a team and individually.”
Atlanta put pressure on Louisville from the outset and tested goalkeeper Benjamin Lundt who made his professional debut. In the 14th minute, Anderson Asiedu delivered a pass to Dion Pereira who settled it with a backheel and quickly played Luiz Fernando into the penalty area on the left side. The Brazilian ripped a left-footed shot towards the back post but pushed it just wide.
In his first appearance with ATL UTD 2 this season, goalkeeper Alec Kann was named Man of the Match after two crucial saves towards the end of the first half. The first came in the 37th minute after a looping ball fell behind Atlanta’s backline and Luke Spencer was one-on-one with Kann. Spencer shuffled to his left before taking a left-footed shot, but Kann got a touch to it which allowed an Atlanta defender to regain possession. Later in the 43rd minute, it was Spencer again who ripped a high shot that Kann parried away before Jack Metcalf was able to clear the ball.
ATL UTD 2 had a pair of chances to take the lead midway through the second half. In the 66th minute, Asiedu spun away from a defender in the defensive third and dribbled to midfield before playing Fernando down the left side. Fernando danced by a defender into the 18-yard box and skipped a pass to Pereira who one-timed a shot with his left foot, but Lundt was there to deny. Three minutes later, Lundt made a diving save on a curling shot from Andrew Carleton that was aimed at the top-right corner.
Louisville scored the game’s lone goal in the 72nd minute. Brian Ownby sent in a cross from the left side where Abdou Thiam finished with a header at the near post.
Shots: 12-7 Atlanta
Shots on Target: 3-2 Louisville
Corner kicks: 8-3 Atlanta
Fouls committed: 14-12 Louisville
Saves: 2-2 Tied
Offside: 2-1 Louisville
Possession: 58-42 Atlanta
Passing Accuracy: 79-70 Atlanta
The first thing that stood out was the roster changes that were made. “It’s going to be the same every week. We will see who is available to us and available from the top end with the First Team and from underneath in the Academy,” said ATL UTD 2 manager Stephen Glass. “Which ones are we going to push from the Academy and how can we accommodate what comes from the First Team. That’s going to become a week-on-week decision. People might see a different group of players from week to week.”
Dion Pereira had an exceptional outing tonight, registering two shots and three chances created. “Yeah, he was very positive tonight,” Glass said about Pereira. “His physical state is a lot better, his touch was good, and his positivity was good. Overall, I’m pleased for Dion that he got another 90 minutes under his belt and he’s looking like he is improving week-on-week which is fantastic.”
ATL UTD 2 (1-1-0, 3 points) returns to action Saturday, March 23 at Charlotte Independence at 7:00 p.m. EST at the Sportsplex at Matthews. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+.
Photo: Courtesy of ATL UTD