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Atlanta United 2 won its second consecutive match with a 2-1 victory against Hartford Athletic Saturday night at Trinity Health Stadium. Nick Firmino scored his first professional brace, his first goals for ATL UTD 2. Deployed at right back, Erik Centeno also tallied his first professional assist after crossing in Firmino’s second.

The first quality chance for Atlanta came in the 32nd minute, with Austin Pack diving out of his six-yard box to punch out a Centeno cross from the right flank. The hands of Pack missed the ball, which rattled off the body of ATL UTD 2 captain Robbie Mertz. However, Mertz was unable to get a second touch and open the scoring. 

The opening goal came in the closing moments of the first half after Hartford Athletic defender Tom Brewitt conceded a foul 30-plus yards away from his goal. Mikey Ambrose and David Mejía worked the resulting free kick short, exchanging passes before finding Mertz near the left touch line. The midfielder sent a cross to the back post, where Firmino headed in his first goal since signing for ATL UTD 2 a month ago. The header was also the Brazilian-American’s first goal in the USL Championship. 

ATL UTD 2 showed its attacking prowess once again in the 58th minute, passing through the center of the pitch to enter the Hartford box. Mertz found Centeno on the right, who booted another cross to the back post. Firmino leapt over Hartford defender Younes Boudadi, nodding down his second goal of the match past Pack. The brace is the midfielder’s first at any professional level.

Boudadi made amends in the 70th minute, putting in a dangerous cross that bounced around the box. The effort looped off Noah Cobb and into the back of the Atlanta net for an own goal, cutting the deficit to one goal.

ATL UTD 2 (2-3-0, 6 points) returns to Fifth Third Bank Stadium to face off against USL Championship newcomers Detroit City FC on Saturday, April 9 (ESPN+, 7:30 p.m. ET).

MATCH INFO 

Atlanta 2, Hartford 1

Trinity Health Stadium

Hartford, Connecticut

STATS

Shots: 18-8 Hartford

Shots on Target: 5-3 Hartford

Corner kicks: 5-0 Hartford

Fouls committed: 14-8 Hartford

Offsides: 4-2 Hartford

Possession: 50.1-49.9 Atlanta

Passing Accuracy: 81.8-78.9 Atlanta           

SCORING SUMMARY

ATL – Nick Firmino 46’ (Robbie Mertz)

ATL – Nick Firmino 58’ (Erik Centeno)

HFD – Noah Cobb 70’ (own goal)

DISCIPLINARY SUMMARY

ATL – Brendan Lambe 23’ (yellow)

HFD – Tom Brewitt 45’ (yellow)

ATL – Aidan McFadden 74’ (yellow)

ATL – Robbie Mertz 78’ (yellow)

HFD – Ash Apollon 87’ (yellow)

ATL – Grant Howard 88’ (yellow)

ATL UTD 2 STARTING LINEUP

Justin Garces; Erik Centeno, Noah Cobb, Mikey Ambrose, Aidan McFadden; Brendan Lambe, Nick Firmino (Alan Carleton – 97’), Robbie Mertz ©; Jonantan Villal (Ajani Fortune – 60’), David Mejía (Grant Howard – 65’), Luke Brennan (Darwin Matheus – 46’). 

Substitutes not used: Dagoberto Romero-Garmendia, Bryce Washington.

HARTFORD ATHLETIC STARTING LINEUP

Austin Pack; Tom Brewitt, Modou Jadama, Joel Johnson; Younes Boudadi, Danny Barrera, Conor McGlynn (Luke Prpa – 46’), Chrisitian Gómez (Ash Apollon – 57’), Andre Lewis; Juan Carlos Obregón Jr. (Mitchell Curry – 65’), Prince Saydee (Jeciel Cedeño – 78’). 

Substitutes not used: Tulu, Peter-Lee Vassell, Jimmy Slaton.

OFFICIALS

Chrisitian Centeno (referee), William Aten (assistant), Ian Mangione (assistant), Kenneth Rojas (fourth official)

TEAM NOTES

  • Nick Firmino scored his first professional brace, including his first goals for ATL UTD 2
  • Erik Centeno tallied his first professional assist
  • Alan Carleton made his professional debut