Yesterday marked the very first competitive encounter between Atlanta United and Orlando City SC, the soon-to-be Major League Soccer matchup in the Southeast. The U16 and U18 Atlanta United Academy teams traveled to Orlando, Florida for the weekend knowing in the back of their minds that this could be the beginning of a potential rivalry between the two clubs.
The U18s kicked off first in the morning. A promising start along with some quality individual play led to a goal from defender Bryce Washington which put ATL UTD ahead at the break. The second half proved to be a competitive one, a constant back-and-forth, but the visiting side defended well, holding on to the 1-0 lead all the way until the final whistle. Notable performances included Tambadu Alhaji, Mike Ille and Machop Chol.
The U16 matchup began shortly after, and the ATL UTD U16s followed suit with a strong first half of their own. Though failing to capitalize on a number of chances early on, the deadlock was finally broken when striker James Brighton found the back of the net after a rhythmic sequence of passing and movement. ATL UTD held the 1-0 advantage at the half, but the home side refused to remain down for long. Orlando City battled back after the break and equalized off a set piece opportunity, leading to a final 1-1 draw between the two sides. Notable performances included Alessandro Castro, George Bello, Kendall Edwards and James Brighton.
The Academy trip to Florida also included matches against Boca FC on Saturday in which both the U16 and U18 ATL UTD sides took three points each. The U16s won 3-1, while the U18s won 4-2 with Cheick Fofana scoring two goals.
Overall, another big weekend for the Atlanta United Academy as both the U16 and U18 squads continued their undefeated runs in their inaugural seasons competing in the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) setup.
View the photo gallery from Sunday below: