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Young Atlanta United 2 squad performs well in 2-2 draw with Memphis

by Jason Longshore

(photo courtesy of Atlanta United)

Goals conceded late in each half thwarted a strong performance from a young Atlanta United 2 squad on Saturday night at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw. Memphis 901 FC fielded a veteran-laden side against Atlanta's lineup that featured seven academy products and had an average age of 19.6 years old.

The goals came from two of the academy products, Jackson Conway and Coleman Gannon. Conway's goal was his second in consecutive matches, while Gannon scored his first USL Championship goal on a great feed from Modou Jadama. Manager Stephen Glass commented on his younger squad's performance after the match:

“Tonight was the youngest group we’ve ever put out as a club. That’s obviously something to look for when you are competing with some of the independent teams. With a group so young, it’s impressive work from the group, especially the young ones. There was good leadership from Mo (Modou Jadama). He had some key blocks especially early in the second half and played some great passes out of the back. Caleb Wiley and Matthew Edwards were good again. Ajani Fortune comes in for his starting debut, David Mejia makes his professional debut. Coleman Gannon was outstanding tonight and got his first professional goal. He played two or three different positions throughout the match as well, a real Man of the Match type of performance. He looked good in each of those positions. When the players understand how we want to play and are tactically aware, that bodes well for the future.”

Coleman Gannon started the match in a free attacking role centrally, and shifted to a left wing back role after 15-year old Caleb Wiley was substituted. Gannon had this to say after the match:

“It’s a great feeling to get that first goal. I saw Mo (Jadama) driving up the field and I knew that someone would have to step up to him and that would leave space in behind their defense. As soon as the defender stepped up, I ran off his shoulder and Mo played me a great pass. I took a couple dribbles and was able to put it away.”

Jackson Conway has been in fine form since the return to play, and credited work done by the team's technical staff in his preparation:

“I sat down with Glassy (Head Coach Stephen Glass) and Henry (Assistant Coach Henry Apaloo) during this break and they showed me videos of Sergio Aguero, the Man City striker who scores goals for fun. I was watching his movements and what he does in and around the box to get all those goals. As a striker that’s what you are paid to do, score goals for the team.”

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