Atlanta United 2 couldn’t overcome a first half offensive explosion from North Carolina FC as the visitors defeated ATL UTD 2 by the score of 6-1 in front of 1,923 fans at Coolray Field. Alessandro Castro scored the lone goal for Atlanta, his first professional goal.
“Of course, we are not happy with how things turned out tonight,” said ATL UTD 2 head coach Scott Donnelly. “As a team and as a group we learned a really hard lesson.”
North Carolina FC grabbed the early lead off the first set piece in the match. Kyle Bekker delivered a corner that was met by Donovan Ewolo, who guided the cross passed Mitch Hildebrandt for the 1-0 lead in the third minute.
ATL UTD 2 was unfazed by the early deficit and found a response only a couple minutes later. Alessandro Castro pounced on a loose ball at the top of the box and curled in a one-time effort from about 23 yards out to the top left corner for the equalizer in the eighth minute. It marked the first professional goal for the Atlanta United Academy product.
The visitors restored their advantage in the 16th minute as Ewolo picked off a pass in the attacking third and scored to give North Carolina FC a 2-1 lead. Atlanta had a couple of opportunities to tie the score once again, but NCFC doubled its lead in the 29th minute through Bekker. Later in the half, Ewolo completed his hat trick and Zach Steinberger added a tally to give the visitors a 5-1 halftime advantage.
The second half was an even contest until the final minute, when Ewolo scored his fourth goal of the night to give North Carolina FC the 6-1 victory.
ATL UTD 2 (5-15-8, 23 points) returns to action Wednesday, Sept. 26 against Nashville SC at 7:00 p.m. EST at Coolray Field. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+.