The Atlanta United U16 Academy team traveled to Philadelphia, PA this weekend for their first ever appearance in Generation adidas Cup at the U17 level. The team did not disappoint as they returned to Atlanta undefeated, taking eight points from three matches.
To kick off the weekend, ATL UTD faced the hosts, Philadelphia Union, a quality side and at their home field nonetheless. The Union netted the first of the day, taking the early lead with the support of the home crowd. But, ATL UTD refused to remain behind for long. Will Crain converted a penalty, and Saul Tinoco followed with 2 goals of his own to turn the game around and put ATL UTD up 3-1. Near the end of the match and with an incredible amount of awareness, Jackson Conway decided to have an effort at goal from inside his own half. With Conway’s wonder strike (see below), the match ended 4-1 in United’s favor.
Next up was D.C. United, and again, ATL UTD found themselves down a goal early on in the match. However, the goal seemed to serve as wake-up call because after conceding, the team rallied behind a few of their own goals starting with a beautiful free kick from recently signed Homegrown player, Chris Goslin. From that point on it was all Atlanta United, as they added 3 more to the scoresheet with finishes from James Brighton, Natnael McDonald, and Zyen Jones ending the match 4-1.
In the third and final match of the weekend, ATL UTD and New York Red Bulls battled it out to scoreless draw at the conclusion of regulation. A penalty shootout was set in motion to determine the winner, and in the end, ATL UTD came out on top 7-6, taking two points as the shootout victors and finishing the weekend 2-0-1.
Saul Tinoco, the team’s leading goal scorer from the weekend, had a few words on the competition. “It was a really competitive environment and we had to learn quickly about other teams and how they played, it was a great weekend and I loved playing for ATL UTD!"
Forward, Jackson Conway added, “It was a good start to the GA Cup and happy to come away with three wins, we also played very well as a team and it feels good to be playing for ATL UTD and putting our academy on the map."
After the successful weekend, Academy manager, Tony Annan, was most impressed with the resilience of his squad, “Great results for our first time playing at this level, we did not play at our best but we played well as a team and managed to take over each game and created and took our chances very well. It's a tough competition and we handled the pressure very well.”