Atlanta United 2 fell 4-2 against North Carolina FC Saturday night at WakeMed Soccer Park. Academy midfielder Will Vint scored his first professional goal while Bienvenue Kanakimana scored his third goal of the season. Featuring its youngest starting lineup in club history with an average age of 19.4 years old, ATL UTD 2 started four academy players and fielded five as defender Garrison Tubbs made his professional debut as a substitute.
Atlanta fell behind in the seventh minute when Donovan Ewolo found the opening goal. Kendall Edwards cleared a cross out of the box, but Ben Speas dumped it back in where Ewolo sent a volley into the top right corner.
North Carolina doubled its lead in the 15th minute as Nazmi Albadawi slipped Steven Miller in behind ATL UTD 2’s backline where the captain finished with a low shot to the bottom left corner. Miller added to the lead in the 19th minute when he tapped in a cross from Speas.
Atlanta responded in the 34th minute through Vint. Kanakimana stole the ball on the left side and passed to Kevin Barajas in the middle of the field. Barajas then found Vint to his right standing roughly 10 yards outside of the box. The 17-year-old took a touch before firing a shot towards goal that took a slight deflection and soared into the top left corner.
Kanakimana brought the match within one goal just seven minutes later. After forcing a turnover in the center circle, Wesly Decas led a counter attack with a long run down the middle of the field. Decas laid the ball off for Kanakimana on the left side where the Burundian scored with a left-footed shot to the bottom right corner. It was Kanakiamana’s third goal of the season and Decas’ first assist with the club.
North Carolina extended its lead when Ewolo scored his second of the night just before the half when he finished off a cross from Miller in the 45th minute.
ATL UTD 2 produced a number of opportunities to cut into the deficit in the second half. In the 64th minute Andrew Carleton delivered a free kick into the box where Decas put a header on frame, but it was caught in the top right corner by goalkeeper Alex Tambakis. In the 77th minute Laurent Kissiedou found space at the edge of the 18-yard box and took a shot toward the bottom left corner, but his attempt drifted just wide of the post.
ATL UTD 2 (3-12-5, 14 points) returns to action Friday, Aug. 2 against Loudoun United at 7:30 p.m. EST at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+.