JACKSON CONWAY'S EXTRA TIME GOAL PROPELS ATLANTA UNITED U-16/17 TO ACADEMY CHAMPIONSHIPS

By Terry Monahan

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (June 26, 2018) - In an intense back-and-forth battle, Jackson Conway made the difference late. The 6-foot-2 Clemson commit scored the game's lone goal as Atlanta United outlasted Weston FC 1-0 in overtime in the U-16/17 Academy Playoff Quarterfinals on Tuesday afternoon. With the victory, the Southeast Division champion earned a trip to the Academy Championships, July 8-11 at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City.

Conway tallied his 31st goal of the season in the first of two extra time periods just moments after Weston's Nicolas Pereira's breakaway shot hit the crossbar and stayed out of the net. Conway answered back as a teammate's pass sent him in alone on the net.

"I knew if I messed that up, I'd hear about it for a very long time,'' Conway said. "I knew where the goal was so I didn't even have to find it. When you get a shot like that, you just have to get it on goal.''

When he took his shirt off to celebrate the goal, Conway picked up a yellow card, not the first in a rugged game marked by heavy challenges all day. His excitement led to a booking that will surely be forgiven.

"My feelings got the better of me right there,'' said the midfielder. "I don't think I'll hear about that yellow card, but I would have if I'd missed. We lost the first one to Weston and tied the second one, but this will be the only one that counts.''

There was very little action near either goal in the first 24 minutes until Atlanta found two excellent scoring chances in the final minutes of the first half. Conway just missed a header less than a minute after Weston goalkeeper Rafael Gleicher recorded one of his six saves off of a header down low. Atlanta 'keeper Vincent Florio also picked up three saves.

"We've seen Weston enough to know you can't take them lightly,'' Conway said. "They're the best team in our region. They're very aggressive. Caps off to them. I'm so excited to be going to Kansas City. Maybe we can bring home another trophy.''