Atlanta United 2 won 1-0 against Memphis 901 FC Wednesday night at AutoZone Park. Kevin Barajas’ first professional goal handed the team its first road win of the season in a match that saw ATL UTD 2 present a starting lineup with an average age of 20.8 years old, which tied the youngest lineup in team history. Atlanta United Academy midfielder Will Vint made his first professional start while defender Wesly Decas made his first start for the team.
“I think the resilience of seeing a game out is something that is going to be really important for these young professionals,” ATL UTD 2 head coach Stephen Glass said. “I’m delighted that they managed to get the reward that they deserved.”
ATL UTD 2 withstood a wave of pressure in the opening 15 minutes which saw Memphis take four shots and put three on target. From then, Atlanta settled into the match, controlling possession and out-shooting 901 FC in the final 30 minutes of the first half.
Atlanta broke the deadlock moments before halftime through Barajas. Jose Hernandez started the play with a cross from the left side that was headed out of the box to the other side of the field. Jack Metcalf corralled the loose ball and dumped it back into the center of the 18 where Jackson Conway attempted a header, but the ball fell in between a pair of Memphis defenders. Laurent Kissiedou made a challenge to keep the play alive, which allowed the ball to skip free in the middle of the box for Barajas, who hammered a low shot near the penalty spot. Memphis goalkeeper Jeff Caldwell got a hand to it, but couldn’t keep the ball out of the net as it bounced across the line.
Memphis came out of the break searching for an equalizer and took 11 of its 18 total shots in the second half. One of Memphis’ best chances to tie the match came in the 67th minute. From a corner, Jacob Hauser-Ramsey headed the ball on frame, but a quick reaction save from Dylan Castanheira parried the ball to his right and out for another corner which ultimately resulted in another save. Castanheira finished the night with an ATL UTD 2 single-match record eight saves while recording his first professional clean sheet.
Barajas, Hernandez, Alessandro Castro and Laurent Kissiedou all made their first appearances this season.
ATL UTD 2 (2-2-1, 7 points) returns to action Saturday, April 13 against North Carolina FC at 7:30 p.m. EST at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+.