The long, frustrating winless streak for ATL UTD 2 is finally over.
Bienvenue Kanakimana continued his hot streak with a hat trick and Jackson Conway tacked on a goal of his own late as Atlanta defeated Loudoun United 4-2 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. It was the club’s first win in 15 tries, its first 3-point output since a 2-1 win against North Carolina FC on April 13 and its highest-scoring match of the season.
“I’m pleased for the players and the workrate they put in every day in training,” said ATL UTD 2 coach Stephen Glass. “Tonight, they’ve gotten what they deserved over a number of weeks. They’ve been getting a few slaps here and there, but then we see the spirit in the group and the determiniation they’ve got to make things right.”
A familiar face opened the scoring for Loudoun as Gordon Wild scored his first goal for his new club in the 14th minute to make it 1-0. But it wouldn’t stay that way for long, as Bienvenue Kanikimana got onto the other end of a nice ball from Will Vint and struck it past Loudoun keeper Calle Brown in the 19th minute.
Déjà vu!— ATL UTD 2 (@atlutd2) August 3, 2019
Kanakimana flies past Loudoun United FC to find the back of the net pic.twitter.com/7OYsK0BuOf
Loudoun went up 2-1 in the 24th after an attempted clearance by Atlanta keeper Brendan Moore deflected off Wesly Decas and into his own net, but again, it wouldn’t stay that way for long. Laurent Kissiedou’s nifty pass from deep in the box back to George Bello was deflected and found its way to Kanikimana, whose first-time strike left Brown no chance.
— ATL UTD 2 (@atlutd2) August 3, 2019
Kanakimana rips it into the top left corner! pic.twitter.com/xop3fFlLeg
In the second half, Kanikimana got his hat trick, showcasing his blistering speed to get behind the Loudoun defense and pick up his third goal of the night and sixth over the previous three matches.
“He’s been ruthless in front of goal the last few games and it’s really helped us,” said ATL UTD 2 captain Jack Metcalf. “Obviously there’s a little bit of a language barrier but he’s picking it up. The staff has been great and the players have been trying to teach him little things tactically here and there to try to help him out. He’s been great the past few weeks.”
Clearly, Kanikimana’s work in training has translated on the pitch, which has gained him praise from his coach.
“He is working so hard to become a part of the group,” said Glass. “He has found it difficult to get playing time at first since he’s came, but he’s really worked hard in training. He’s focused on his finishing and is understanding what his strengths are for the team and what the team needs from him. I think everyone - (him) included - is getting the benefits from that.”
ATL UTD 2 returns to the field at Louisville City FC on August 11. Kickoff for that match is set for 3 p.m.