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Andrew Carleton’s penalty kick helps Atlanta United’s USL side stay unbeaten

Atlanta United homegrown Andrew Carleton dribbles up the field in a USL game against Louisville City F.C. on April 21, 2018 at Coolray Field in Gwinnett County, Georgia. | Mitchell Northam photo, ProSoccerUSA

Thanks to a late equalizing penalty kick from Andrew Carleton, ATL UTD 2 kept its unbeaten streak alive in front of an announced 4,135 fans Saturday at Coolray Field in Gwinnett County, Ga., drawing 1-1 with Louisville City F.C.

Carleton, Atlanta United’s first ever homegrown signing, made his debut with the Five Stripes’ United Soccer League affiliate in the match. He started in the midfield and played all 90 minutes. The 17-year-old red head was experimental in the game, trying to make runs, create chances and do whatever was needed to help his side get a win.

“It was a below-par night,” Carleton said of his play. “I could’ve been a little cleaner on the ball, a little more dynamic in the final third, but the more games you play the more sharp I’ll be. So hopefully, whatever the next game is that I play, I’ll be a little better.”

He was 70.6 percent accurate on his passes, won four fouls and took three shots. Carleton missed a penalty kick in the 58th minute, sailing the shot over the bar, but converted a second penalty attempt in the 91st minute, burying the shot in the lower left corner of the net.

After the match, ATL UTD 2 coach Scott Donnelly said he didn’t pick a default penalty taker before the game but had confidence in Carleton in both of those moments. Carleton has seen action in three Major League Soccer games this year, but this was his first professional goal of the season.

“Things happen and I was just like, you know, we got to go get it back,” Carleton said of the missed penalty. “I was just focused on going out equalizing the game. We had tons of chances and we kept hammering away at it… That second one, I was just like, I got to hit this lower than the last one. Other than that, I hit it the same way.”

Louisville’s lone goal was scored by Tottenham academy product Cameron Lancaster in the 66th minute.

MLS SuperDraft pick Oliver Shannon played 90 minutes alongside Carleton and homegrown Chris Goslin in the midfield for ATL UTD 2 on Saturday. The 22-year-old Englishman came away from the match impressed by Carleton.

“I thought Andy did well. I don’t think it was his best game but he showed a lot of character there stepping up for the second penalty, almost last kick of the game, that speaks volumes,” Shannon said. “He’s such a young guy taking that responsibility on. I’ve played with him before and he makes my job easier, his movements, his availability, he’s a top-top player.”

Shannon, a product of Everton’s academy and Clemson University, was 82.9 percent accurate on his passes, won a tackle, took a shot and received yellow card for a foul in the 55th minute.

“We didn’t play our best tonight, but we’ll take the point…” Shannon said. “I wanted to get on the ball a bit more, but I think defensively the way they played with that box midfield it was hard to track two of their players, but I think I did okay.”

ATL UTD 2 has a quick turnaround and will host the Charleston Battery on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET.

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