ATL UTD 2 defeated expansion side Hartford Athletic 2-0 in its season opener in its new home of Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia. Atlanta scored in each half while goalkeeper Brendan Moore made six saves en route to a clean sheet and a nomination to the USL Championship’s Team of the Week. Last year’s leading scorer Jon Gallagher put Atlanta ahead 1-0 in the 30th minute with a close-range finish while Brandon Vazquez scored in the 80th minute to put the game away after he curled a shot into the top-right corner. Vazquez took an ATL UTD 2 single-game record eight shots and put three on goal. Atlanta improved to 2-0-0 all-time in season openers.
Louisville City was defeated by North Carolina FC 4-1 last Saturday at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. In Dave Sarachan’s first match as head coach, NCFC entered halftime up 1-0 and extended its lead shortly into the second half with goals from Thomas McCabe and Ulrich Ewolo in the 50th and 53rd minutes, respectively. Robert Kristo made it 4-0 in the 83rd minute before Sunny Jane scored deep in stoppage time to set the final score at 4-1.
Friday’s match marks the fourth meeting between ATL UTD 2 and Louisville City. The reigning USL champions hold a 2-0-1 record against Atlanta after three matches in 2018. ATL UTD 2 fought back for a 1-1 draw in the teams’ first match April 21 when Andrew Carleton scored a 90th minute penalty. Louisville won the next two meetings, 2-1 on May 19 at Louisville Slugger Field and 4-1 on Sept. 29 at Coolray Field.