ATL UTD 2 have enjoyed a nice run of form at Coolray Field, and that string of results continued as goals in either half lifted them to a 2-1 victory against Bethlehem Steel FC in its first action at home since June 16’s weather-affected affair against Ottawa Fury FC.
It was a lineup full of players you’d normally see in the Atlanta United 18 as Alec Kann, Romario Williams, Brandon Vazquez and Sal Zizzo were able to get important gametime alongside ATL UTD 2 regulars like Jon Gallagher, Jack Metcalf and Ollie Shannon. In the 25th minute, it was ATL UTD 2 getting the breakthrough on a nice ball played up-field by AJ Cochran to Vazquez, who settled it in the box and chipped it past Jake McGuire for the game’s first goal.
Early in the second half, ATL UTD 2 upped its margin. Shannon ripped a shot from outside the box past McGuire to make it 2-0 in the 49th.
Bethlehem put a late scare into Atlanta after an 87th-minute goal by Derrick Jones made it 2-1, but Atlanta were able to see out the win and make it seven points out of a possible nine in its last three home matches - a strong victory against a good Bethlehem side after a 6-1 loss at NYRB II.
“We got together and said ‘Let’s put three hard days of training in and attack (tonight) and then we’ll go from there,” said Shannon. “This goes some way to fixing that but we’ve got to push on, because that’s not allowed to happen, those performances.”
“It’s always been a resilient team,” coach Scott Donnelly said. “We’ve had a lot of performances that have shown that resiliency. I think today was a little of a bounce back game. We were pleased to include a number of players that we were able to give some game minutes to on a really hot, humid night...and I think the two groups meshed well.”
ATL UTD 2 weren’t home for long as they play their next four matches away from Gwinnett, starting with a match at Richmond on July 21.
ATL UTD 2 Starting XI: Alec Kann, Jack Metcalf (C), AJ Cochran, Miles Robinson, Sal Zizzo, Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, Ollie Shannon, Jon Gallagher, Andrew Carleton, Brandon Vazquez, Romario Williams
Bench: Nico Caraux, Yosef Samuel, Jose Hernandez, Devon Sandoval, Chris Goslin, Lagos Kunga, Will Crain