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Carolina Core FC falls to Atlanta United 2, 4-0, on Matchday 2 of the MLS NEXT Pro Season

CCFC falls to tough opponent Atlanta United 2 on the road


Kennesaw, Georgia (March 24, 2024) – Carolina Core FC fell to Atlanta United 2, 4-0 on Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.

Carolina Core FC Against ATL United 2

Goal-Scoring Plays

ATL 2 – Luke Brennan, 24th minute: Luke Brennan deflected a cross into the left side of the goal, assisted by Javier Armas.

ATL 2 – Luke Brennan, 26th minute: Scores off a deflection on the bounce in the 18 yard box. He scored from the outside right foot to the bottom left corner of the goal.

ATL 2 – Javier Armas, 34th minute: Javier Armas scored a direct free kick right outside the box, to the top right corner of the goal.

ATL 2 – Karim Tmimi, 79th minute*:\* Karim Tmimi scored with a right-footed shot to the bottom left corner of the goal from inside the penalty area.

Postgame Notes

  • CCFC MLS NEXT Pro debutants, Christian Diaz and Josuha Rodriguez
  • Pachittoo earns first CCFC start
  • Jesus Orejuela earns first MLS NEXT Pro start

Christian Diaz and Josuha Rodriguez Make MLS NEXT Pro Debuts

After starring in CCFC’s first Open Cup match against Nova FC, Christian Diaz and Josuha Rodriguez made their MLS NEXT Pro debuts against Atlanta United 2. Diaz played the full 90 minutes on Sunday afternoon, while Rodriguez came on as a substitute after scoring the game-winning goal against Nova FC on Thursday night. His decisive goal gave CCFC their first win and helped secure a spot in the second round of the Cup competition.

Pachittoo Polanco earns first start for Carolina Core FC

After scoring two goals in his first two appearances for Carolina Core FC, Pachittoo earned a spot in the starting eleven Sunday against Atlanta United 2. Pachittoo made history last week, scoring the first goal in CCFC’s history against Crown Legacy FC in the first week of the MLS NEXT Pro season. Polanco then went on to score his second goal for CCFC in their first ever U.S. Open Cup match against Nova FC. The goal served as an equalizer (2-2), which set up CCFC for an eventual game-winner in the late stages of the match.

Jesus Orejuela earns first MLS NEXT Pro start

After coming on as a substitute in CCFC’s first match and starting in Thursday evening’s U.S. Open Cup victory, Jesus Orejuela earned his first MLS NEXT Pro start against Atlanta United 2. The talented midfielder played the full 90 minutes against Atlanta United 2, showcasing his technical ability and presence in the midfield.


Carolina Core FC — Alex Sutton; Juan Pablo Rodriguez (Kai Thomas – 34’), Ibrahim Covi, Christian Diaz; Carlos Mario Diaz (Kiki Gregoire – 67’), Facundo Canete, Jesus Orejuela, Jacob Evans, Jathan Juarez (Derek Cuevas – 67’); Pachittoo Polanco (Yekeson Subah – 58’), Papa Ndoye (Josuha Rodriguez – 58’).

Substitutes not used — Robert Bailey, Jeremiah White IV, Angel Aguas, Luis Lugo.

ATL United 2 — John Berner; Erik Centeno, Matthew Edwards (Miles Hadley – 85’), Efrain Morales, Daniel Russo; Javier Armas, Noble Okello Ayo (Pavel Romero – 85’); Luke Brennan (Stephen Hurlock – 76’), Alan Carleton (Jacob Williams – 65’), Matias Gallardo; Matthew Dejianne (Karim Tmimi –65’).

Substitutes not used — Shawn Lanza, Jayden Hibbert, Porter Smith.

Next Game

Carolina Core FC visits New England Revolution II continuing their start of the season road trip on Sunday, March 31 at Gillette Stadium. The match kicks off at 3:00 PM ET on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

2024 MLS NEXT Pro Regular Season

Carolina Core FC (0-1-1, 2 pts) at ATL United 2 (1-1-0, 3 pts)

Sunday, March 24, 2024 – Fifth Third Stadium (Kennesaw, GA)

Scoring Summary:

ATL 2: Luke Brennan (Javier Armas) – 24’

ATL 2: Luke Brennan – 26’

ATL 2: Javier Armas – 34’

ATL 2: Karim Tmimi – 79’

Misconduct Summary:

ATL 2 - Javier Armas (caution) – 2’

ATL 2 - Noble Akello Ayo (caution) – 40’

CCFC - Christian Diaz (caution) – 51’

CCFC - Facundo Canete (caution) – 59’

Referee: Elvis Osmanovic

Assistant Referees: Tom Felice, Sarah Gaddes

Fourth Official: Jonathan Smith

Weather: Mostly Sunny, 67 degrees

Attendance: 550

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial


Head Coach Roy Lassiter

Initial reactions on the loss to ATL United 2 …

“We were still in the game (after going 3-0 down in the first half), but unfortunately, things happened in the game. Within 10 minutes, Atlanta was up three goals, and it's hard to compete with that. They worked for the goals, and they were well deserved. We had to stay in the game, and it was up to us to come back from the deficit. We tried to stay in the game, but then one of our players got injured, so we had to make an early substitution, which also hurt us. Overall, I thought we were in the game and understood that the score was not indicative of everything. There are a lot of lessons for us to learn from this—a lot of good things and a lot of bad things.”

On the second half performance…

I was very positive at halftime. There were things that I wanted to say that I probably could not say, so it was just about remaining positive with them. After halftime, I stayed positive and trusted the team; I didn't even make a sub, besides the sub that we needed to make because of one of our injured players. I wanted the team to learn how to work through it. There are times in the professional game where you have to work it out and show trust in your players, and so that's what I tried to do. I’m glad we experienced this early in the season to prepare us for later. This is a good, quality league for young players, and even at this level, if you don't take care of yourself defensively, they can still punish you. I give credit to Atlanta because they came out aggressive, and things fell for them as a result of that.