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Four to the Floor: Atlanta United 2 dominant in 4-0 win over Carolina

by Madison Crews


Atlanta United 2 beat Carolina Core 4-0 on Sunday to earn their first win of the 2024 MLS Next Pro season. 


Even with many players starting after traveling to Toronto with the first team the night before, the 2's put up a very dominant performance over the foxes. 


“I feel like we could have used that as an excuse, but I think we put that to the side and were excited to face adversity and overcome it,” said Luke Brennan about the quick turn around he and some of his teammates had. “I think we played pretty well, and it was back and forth for a while.” 


Brennan was the man of the match as he earned a brace after enduring a long and cold trip to Toronto with the first team. He scored in the 24th minute when Javier Armas crossed the ball into the box to make it 1-0. Just two minutes later, Brennan found the back of the net once again as the ball deflected off of a Carolina defender and fell to his feet to make it 2-0.


Brennan wasn’t the only one to find the back of the net in the first half. In the 34th minute, Javier Armas scored on a beautiful curling free kick right outside of the box and earned his second goal with the 2's. 



Karim Tmimi finished off the night scoring in the 79th minute with a shot to the bottom left corner of the goal after a long run from substitute Stephen Hurlock.  


Head Coach Steve Cooke said after the match that the fact that the 2ss were able to come out and have a performance like that after the 3-2 loss last week is huge for them, but he mentioned that there is still work to be done. 


“Full credit to the players for this and it feels good, but it's only three points. it's only the second game of the year and we have to keep climbing,” Coach Cooke said. “Our goals are not to just win today. Our goals are much bigger than that, and we are not only in terms of players progressing, but the team progressing and the team doing well and winning games. I think real credit to the players. It was a really good performance, and one that I think we can really build from.”


This was also the 2's first clean sheet in 13 matches. Their last one was back on June 18th, 2023 against Toronto FC II when the match ended 0-0 with TFC winning the shootout 4-3. 


“The clean sheet feels great. That is the best for a goalie to get a clean sheet coming into the locker room. It feels great,” said John Berner after the match. “Preseason was a bit choppy. I had a suture on my thumb, so I dealt with that for a bit. I feel like I’m finding it again, getting my energy back, and kicking off the season well.”


Atlanta United 2 is back at The Proving Ground April 15 at 7:30pm against Philadelphia Union II, our pregame coverage will begin at 7pm on the SDH Network at soccerdownhere.mixlr.com.


(Photos courtesy of Sofia Cupertino)



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