Carleton Brace Leads Atlanta United to 2-1 Win Over Defending Champions FC Dallas in Academy Championship Final

CARSON, Calif. (July 16, 2017) - Atlanta United FC U-15/16s ended their inaugural season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy as Champions on Sunday. The first year Academy program defeated the reigning, back-to-back, U-15/16 Academy Champions FC Dallas 2-0 behind a brace from MLS homegrown signing Andrew Carleton.

The day after the U.S. Men's National Team saw a record number of Development Academy graduates featured in its 3-0 Gold Cup victory over Nicaragua (7), the U-15/16 Academy Championship featured its own star-studded cast of players, including U-17 CONCACAF World Cup qualifying players Carleton and Zyen Jones for Atlanta United, as well as Bryan Reynolds Jr. for FC Dallas.

After a scoreless deadlock to end the first half, Carleton was first to open the scoring in the 63rd minute, when he uncorked a free kick opportunity from the top of the box, over the five-man wall, and into the right side of the net.

Four minutes later, Carleton added his second goal, which would end up serving as the game winner, in even more spectacular fashion. Following a defender's lob into the attacking third, the ball bounced forward off Jackson Conway's head and found Carleton, who smashed a volley from 20-yards out and curled it into the upper right corner.

Despite a late stoppage time header from FC Dallas midfielder Edwin Cerrillo, Atlanta would hold on for the club's first national title in its first year of existence.

"This is (the work of) more than just this season," Carleton said. "Georgia United, Concord Fire, all the clubs that have been around for a while, came together and put it all together for Atlanta United. It just shows the development of soccer in Atlanta. It's really a pat on the back to guys like Tony Annan and Dave Smith, and everyone who has been a part of promoting soccer in Georgia."

"It was a feeling of absolute elation, that we've actually done it," Atlanta United head coach Tony Annan spoke of his emotions after the final whistle blew. "We set out at the beginning of the season, in August, to do this and the boys have been absolutely fantastic and they've done it. And this is it. I'm so happy and I'm really happy for our kids."