Atlanta United 2 remained unbeaten on the season after battling back to earn a 1-1 draw against Penn FC Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field. For the third consecutive match, a new player made their professional and club debut as ATL UTD 2’s lineup presented an average age of 21.2, including 17-year-old center back Kendall Edwards from Atlanta United’s academy.
“I’m happy with the response, but we’re no happier with a tie than we were last week,” said head coach Scott Donnelly. “We played part of the game and we need to play a whole game. The silver lining is they showed a lot of toughness, they showed the ability to come from a goal down to get a point.”
After a slow start to the first half, a breakthrough came in the 31st minute after ATL UTD 2 goalkeeper Nico Caraux cleared a back pass. The clearance fell to the feet of Penn FC’s Dan Metzger, who quickly played a long ball into the box. Richard Menjivar laid it off to Thomas Heinemann at the edge of the penalty area where he one-timed a left-footed shot into the back of the net to put the visitors up 1-0.
ATL UTD 2 came out of the break with renewed energy and fought back to grab the equalizer in the 63rd minute. Winger Lagos Kunga won a tackle in midfield and passed to Yosef Samuel, who sprung Kunga free down the left side with a well-timed through ball. Kunga lobbed a cross towards the back post for a leaping Jon Gallagher who headed the ball back across the box, off the left post and into the goal.
The goal marked Gallagher’s third goal of the season and his second in just two appearances with ATL UTD 2. The former Notre Dame forward was previously named to USL’s Team of the Week when he scored a brace in Atlanta’s inaugural match March 24 against New York Red Bulls II.
Atlanta attempted to keep the pressure on Penn FC and nearly took the lead in the 79th minute when Chris Goslin dribbled through midfield and played Gallagher into the box. However, the forward took a heavy first touch and Penn FC goalkeeper Romauld Peiser collected the loose ball.
The physical match saw a slower pace of play in the second half as each team conceded 15 fouls. Despite giving up the lone goal, Caraux came up with two saves on the day.
ATL UTD 2 (1-0-2, 5 points) returns to action April 21 against Louisville City at 7:00 p.m. at Coolray Field. The match will be streamed live on ATLUTD.com/live.
Atlanta 1, Penn FC 1
Shots: 5-12 Penn FC
Corner kicks: 4-4 tied
Fouls committed: 15-15 tied
Saves: 2-0 Atlanta
Offside: 2-2 tied
PEN – Thomas Heinemann (Menjivar) 31’
ATL – Jon Gallagher (Kunga) 63’
PEN – Kenneth Tribbett (yellow) 8’
PEN – Richard Menjivar (yellow) 73’
ATL – Oliver Shannon (yellow) 75’
ATLANTA UNITED 2 STARTING LINEUP
Nicolas Caraux; George Bello, AJ Cochran, Jack Metcalf ©, Kendall Edwards; Oliver Shannon (Jose Carranza – 76’), Lagos Kunga, Jon Gallagher, Andrew Kendall-Moullin (Shawn Nicklaw – 87’), Chris Goslin; Yosef Samuel (Devon Sandoval – 71’).
Substitutes not used: Paul Christensen, Kevin Barajas.
PENN FC STARTING LINEUP
Romauld Peiser; Harri Hawkins, Kenneth Tribbett ©, Tiago Calvano; Salvatore Barone, Dan Metzger, Jake Bond, Richard Menjivar (Miguel Jaime – 85’), Mauro Eustaquio; Lucky Mkosana (Jorge Rivera – 90+2’), Thomas Heinemann (Saalih Muhammad – 50’).
Substitutes not used: Kyle Venter, Sean Lewis, Aaron Dennis, Marco Franco.
Elton Garcia (referee), Howard Ash (assistant), Thomas Brigman (assistant), Christopher Heintzman (fourth).
- Gallagher scored his third goal of the season
- Goalkeeper Nico Caraux and defender Kendall Edwards, 17, each made their club debuts, both appearing in the starting XI. Edwards made his professional debut.
- Shawn Nicklaw made his club debut when he entered as a substitute in the second half
ABOUT ATL UTD 2
ATL UTD 2 is owned and operated by AMB Sports & Entertainment and is the United Soccer League (USL) affiliate of Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United. ATL UTD 2 joined USL for its expansion 2018 season and plays its home matches at Gwinnett County’s Coolray Field.