ATL UTD 2 falls 2-1 to Loudoun United

Atlanta United 2 lost 2-1 to Loudoun United at Audi Field Friday night. After falling behind 2-0 in the second half, Guillermo Benitez scored his first goal for ATL UTD 2 late in the match to cut the deficit in half, but the team’s comeback ultimately came up short.

ATL UTD 2 was in firm control of the match early on and only allowed Loudoun to take one shot in the first half. Atlanta’s attack settled into the match after the opening 15 minutes as winger Bienvenue Kanakimana created several dangerous chances down the right side. In the 25th minute, the Burundi youth international blew by Akeem Ward and sent a threatening ball inside the six-yard box that forced goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. to punch it away. Minutes later, Kanakimana had a header saved by Edwards Jr.

Luiz Fernando nearly handed ATL UTD 2 the lead in the 27th minute after midfielder Jose Hernandez played a long ball down the left side. The Brazilian gathered the pass and dribbled by a Loudoun defender before firing a shot that nearly picked out the upper corner at the near post, but it was pushed away for a corner that was ultimately cleared. Patrick Okonkwo had a close-range opportunity just miss in the 30th minute while Benitez had a shot creep just over the bar in the 40th minute. Fernando suffered an injury shortly before halftime and was forced to exit the game.

Loudoun’s attack found its rhythm in the second half and took the lead in the 63rd minute through substitute Christian Sorto. A free-kick from the right side was played into the box and fell to Sorto at the edge of the penalty area where he dribbled into the box and placed a low shot into the bottom right corner. Sorto later doubled Loudoun’s lead in the 79th minute off a breakaway.

Atlanta nearly scored in the 83rd minute when Jackson Conway stole the ball from Edwards Jr. as he attempted to dribble by Conway. The 17-year-old played a dangerous ball across the six-yard box, but it was cleared just before Laurent Kissiedou could poke it into the back of the net.

ATL UTD 2 finally broke through in the 86th minute. Kissiedou spun away from a pair of defenders at the top of the 18 and found Benitez alone on the left side. The Panamanian took one touch before sending a rocket into the upper-right corner to cut Loudoun’s lead in half.

ATL UTD 2 (3-9-4, 13 points) returns to action Friday, July 5 against Charleston Battery at 7:30 p.m. EST at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+.

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