CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)Teen-age defender Caleb Wiley had two goals and an assist in the first half and Atlanta United cruised to a 3-0 victory over Charlotte FC on Saturday.
The 18-year-old Wiley, who scored once last year in his rookie season with Atlanta United (2-0-1), found the net in the 5th minute for an early lead. Thiago Almada and Amar Sejdić had assists on the goal, giving Almada a hand in five straight scores dating to last season and eight of the last nine.
Almada’s streak ended seven minutes later when Wiley picked up an assist on Luiz Araújo’s first goal of the season. Wiley made it 3-0 at halftime when he scored unassisted in the second minute of stoppage time.
It was quite a turnaround on the road for Atlanta United, which won just once in its final 16 matches away from home last season and surrendered multiple goals in 13 of them.
Charlotte (0-3-0) has lost a club-record four straight matches dating to last season. The team lost three in a row twice last season – its first. Charlotte managed just one goal through its first two matches despite taking a league-high 81% of its shots from inside the box (17 of 21).
Atlanta United outshot Charlotte 13-12 with a 5-3 edge in shots on goal.
Brad Guzan made three saves to earn his first clean sheet of the campaign for Atlanta United. Pablo Sisniega saved two shots for Charlotte. The two clubs split two matches last season with both winning at home.
Both clubs honored the late Anton Walkes before the match. The 25-year-old died in an accident in South Florida on Jan. 19. Walkes spent three seasons with Atlanta before being selected by Charlotte in the 2021 expansion draft.