Goals by Jon Gallagher and Brandon Vazquez helped Atlanta United 2 earn a 2-0 victory over Hartford Athletic in the United Soccer League (USL) season opener for both teams on March 9 in Kennesaw.
Atlanta (1-0-0) pushed the offensive pressure on Hartford (0-1-0) with its first scoring opportunity coming in the eighth minute on Vazquez’s header that was saved by Jacob Lissek. Dion Pereira’s header in the 16th minute off of Gallagher’s cross required another save from Lissek..
Hartford’s best scoring opportunity in the first half came from Mads Jorgensen’s shot in the 18th minute from outside the penalty area that was saved by Brendan Moore.
The first goal of the night was in the 30th minute on a rebound shot by Gallagher after an initial attempt by Vazquez was blocked by a Hartford defender.
Vazquez had a strong opportunity to increase the lead with a self-volley shot in the 35th minute that was saved by Lissek.
Atlanta outshot Hartford 10-7 and led in possession percentage 60.7 to 39.3.
United 2 had a chance to increase its lead early in the second half in the 61st minute on a Vazquez right-footed shot towards an open net off of a cross that went wide.
Atlanta’s Luiz Fernando took a pass from the right side and drove across the penalty area and pushed his shot just wide of the net in the 73rd minute.
Moore made a kick save on a Hartford attempt in the 75th minute to preserve the shutout.
Vazquez put the game away in the 80th minute dribbling the ball off of his left foot and pushing a right-footed shot in the penalty area past Lissek to make the score 2-0.
Atlanta outshot Hartford 17-15 and led in possession percentage 58-42.
George Campbell was named Man of the Match in his professional debut as the 17-year-old center back completed a game-high 73 passes and recorded two tackles.
Atlanta’s starting lineup saw five players make their team debut including Florentin Pogba, Anderson Asiedu, Pereira, Moore and Campbell. Asiedu along with Will Vint, a 17-year-old midfielder from Atlanta United’s Academy made their professional debuts as well.