Photo courtesy Karl L. Moore / ATL UTD 2
GWINNETT, Ga. – The Charleston Battery brought ATL UTD 2’s undefeated start to the season to an end with a 3-0 victory at Coolray Field on Tuesday night. U.S. U20 international Andrew Carleton went close to opening the scoring for Atlanta in the 11th minute but was driven wide by Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky before shooting into the side netting from the right side of the penalty area. Atlanta’s Jackson Conway also went close in the 23rd minute after turning his marker well to create a breakaway chance he sent just wide of the left post, while Lagos Kunga also fired just wide for the hosts a few minutes later. The Battery took the lead in the 33rd minute, however, as Ian Svantesson fired home in off the left post from 25 yards with a fine low finish. Atlanta almost replied six minutes into the second half when Kunga had a near-post effort kicked away by Kuzminsky, but off a counterattack that immediately followed the Battery made it a two-goal lead on a counterattack that was finished off by Gordon Wild. Charleston almost added to its advantage six minutes later as Ataulla Guerra’s near-post shot from the right was turned wide by Atlanta goalkeeper Nicolas Caraux, but Wild wrapped up the victory for the Battery with five minutes to go on his second goal of the night, fired low into the left corner.
33’ – CHS – Ian Svantesson (Jarad van Schaik)
51’ – CHS – Gordon Wild (Ian Svantesson)
85’ – CHS – Gordon Wild
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Battery entered Tuesday’s game with the plan to absorb pressure and try to hit decisively on the counterattack when the chance presented itself. That plan was executed almost to the letter as while Atlanta finished with a large advantage in possession and overall shots the Battery’s structure made it difficult for the hosts to break down. Wrapping up a four-game road trip with a victory ahead of Saturday’s visit from the Tampa Bay Rowdies got the Battery back on course after its recent three-game winless streak.
2. The game turned decisively in the Battery’s favor in the space of 13 seconds early in the second half as Atlanta sought an equalizer to answer to Ian Svantesson’s opening goal of the game. The hosts carved out a big chance through Lagos Kunga as he slipped past his marker on the left and moved into the penalty area, but Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky made a good kick save on his low shot from a tight angle. The Battery immediately broke forward on the counterattack as a long ball found Svantesson for a flicked header which sprang Gordon Wild in on goal. Atlanta’s 2018 MLS SuperDraft selection, sent on loan to the Battery, then proceeded to bite his official club with a powerful finish to the left corner that gave Charleston a decisive lead.
3. There were no late heroics for Atlanta of the kind it found last Saturday night against Louisville which meant an end to the club’s undefeated start to the season. ATL UTD 2 had enough chances to get something from the game, but its finishing wasn’t quite sharp enough even though the likes of young striker Jackson Conway put in solid shifts in attack. Up next is the most challenging spell of the season for the young side as it heads out on the road for seven of its next eight games, starting with a visit to Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC this Saturday night.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Gordon Wild, Charleston Battery – Playing against the side that loaned him to Charleston, Wild scored his first two professional goals in a fine second-half display to lead the Battery to victory
ATL UTD 2 at Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC – April 28, 7 p.m. ET, Highmark Stadium
Charleston Battery vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies – April 28, 7 p.m. ET, MUSC Health Stadium