Photo courtesy Karl L. Moore / ATL UTD 2
GWINNETT, Ga. – Fans were treated to a nine-goal thriller at Coolray Field on Wednesday night as ATL UTD 2 claimed a 5-4 win against Toronto FC II. It took only five minutes for Atlanta to open the scoring as Mikey Ambrose stepped up and hit a free kick curling it to the near post out of the reach of the goalkeeper. Toronto equalized thanks to a perfectly played cross from Aidan Daniels, finding former USMNT U17 forward Ayo Akinola who was able to bundle it home from close range, scoring his first goal for the club since 2016. The goals continued in the 27th minute with a stunning volley from ATL UTD 2 forward Romario Williams, who finished a strong passage of possession and passing from the hosts. Ambrose repeated his free kick exploits in the 40th minute from a similar position to his first as he lifted it over the wall into the back of the net. A push allowed Daniels an opportunity to step up to the penalty spot just four minutes later as the Toronto captain put it down the middle to pull a goal back in the late stages of the first half, and TFCII leveled three minutes into the second half as Akinola cut the ball square for Luca Uccello, who was able to pass the ball into the back of the net. But that equalizer only lasted two minutes as the hosts got back in front when Williams managed a perfect ball for Jon Gallagher, who chested the ball down and then hit a half-volley across the face of goal into the right corner for Atlanta’s fourth. Toronto leveled again as a through-ball by Akinola released Uccello again, and after seeing his initial shot saved the rebound fell favorably, allowing the former Canada U20 international to slot home from a tight angle. But the slightest of touches from ATL UTD 2 midfielder Brandon Vazquez was able to redirect Jose Carranza’s shot just far enough to beat the goalkeeper and restore the lead for the hosts with 10 minutes to go for what proved to be the winner as the sides equaled the highest-scoring game in the USL this season.
5’ – ATL - Mikey Ambrose
17’ – TOR – Ayo Akinola (Aidan Daniels)
27’ – ATL – Romario Williams (Jon Gallagher)
40’ - ATL – Mikey Ambrose
44’ – TOR – Aidan Daniels (penalty)
48’ – TOR – Luca Uccello (Ayo Akinola)
50’ – ATL – Jon Gallagher (Romario Williams)
61’ – TOR – Luca Uccello
80’ – ATL – Brandon Vazquez (Jose Carranza)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Both teams came into this match on long winless runs, with both offenses struggling to produce goals in recent matches. In this match both offenses came alive as they combined for nine goals, tied for the most in a USL match this season. With both teams scoring their highest single-match goal totals for the year, the attacking players within each group could take some solid confidence moving forward, but the work needed to be done defensively is also clear for both.
2. Having only scored one USL goal prior to this match Atlanta’s Mikey Ambrose came alive, surpassing his personal career tally with two stunning free kicks. Having such a threat on set pieces will serve Atlanta well going forward, with both of Ambrose’s free kicks completely unstoppable for any goalkeeper.
3. Toronto FC II had only scored three goals all season coming into this match, and in 90 minutes managed to more than double its 2018 as Homegrown signing Ayo Akinola came to the fore with a goal and assist. Despite that the Canadians still cannot find the win they so desperately need with the side now winless in nine matches. TFC II has lost every road match it has played this year and with three of its next four away from home that trend needs to change quickly.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match:
Mikey Ambrose, ATL UTD 2 – Scoring two stunning free kicks was only the beginning of a strong performance from Ambrose, who also managed to create one chance for his teammates and finished with a passing accuracy rate of 87.5 percent.
ATL UTD 2 at Louisville City FC – May 19, 7:30 p.m. ET, Louisville Slugger Field
Toronto FC II at Charlotte Independence – May 19, 7:30 p.m. ET, Sportsplex at Matthews