Atlanta United 2 lost 1-0 at MUSC Health Stadium on Saturday night against the Charleston Battery. In front of 2,582 fans, 16-year-old George Bello made his return to the ATL UTD 2 starting lineup for the first time since April.
“I think we can be positive about the 2nd half of the game tonight,” said ATL UTD 2 head coach Scott Donnelly. “We had a lot of the ball, created a number of good chances, and showed the urgency that is needed against an experienced team like Charleston. We didn’t create the goal we needed, but there were positives.”
ATL UTD 2 nearly scored the opening goal in the 24th minute through Romario Williams. Yosef Samuel won possession in the attacking half and laid the ball off to Williams, who skipped past a defender and ripped a left-footed shot from about 25-yards out that was tipped over the bar by Odisnel Cooper.
Alec Kann was called into action in the 28th minute to keep the match scoreless. Neveal Hackshaw dribbled down the left and found Patrick Okonkwo with a cross in the box. The diving header from the Atlanta United loanee forced Kann into his first save of the night.
The Battery opened the scoring in the 41st minute after Kotaro Higashi was fouled in the box resulting in a penalty kick. Ian Svantesson stepped up to the spot and slotted the ball into the right corner to give Charleston the 1-0 halftime lead.
ATL UTD 2 pushed for the equalizer early in the second half. Andrew Carleton had a long-range shot saved in the 57th minute, before Samuel saw a header go over the bar after nice build up play from second half substitutes Jon Gallagher and Jose Hernandez.
Carleton showed off his skill once again in the 72nd minute when he spun a defender at the top of the box, but his curling effort sailed over the bar. The homegrown had the final opportunity for ATL UTD 2 off a free kick in the 90th minute, but Carleton’s attempt missed wide left.
ATL UTD 2 (3-12-7, 16 points) returns to action Wednesday, August 22 against FC Cincinnati at 7:00 p.m. EST at Coolray Field. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+.