Atlanta United defeated Birmingham’s Legion FC 3-2 Saturday afternoon in preseason action. The match was Atlanta’s fourth preseason match of 2020 and have one more match left before beginning competitive play the week after in CONCACAF Champions League.
Here are my three takeaways from United’s victory:
Matheus Rossetto looks good
Rossetto made his debut with the Five Stripes Saturday afternoon and despite only playing the second half, his performance left a good impression among United supporters.
Some of the things that stood out were his first touch on the ball, his ability to quickly push the ball forward and into the wings and most importantly, he scored the game-winner at the 90th minute.
Rossetto is a player that just arrived in Atlanta less than a week ago, but you can quickly tell that he will be a player that will be given much playing time by manager Frank De Boer and could find himself in the starting 11 sooner rather than later.
The starting 11 is among the best in MLS
If I had to guess, I would say that De Boer’s starting 11 on Saturday is about 80 percent complete. The only changes that I can see happening at the moment would be Fernando Meza starting over George Campbell and Brad Guzan over Alec Kann.
I’m still curious to see if Anton Walkes will be the starter in Honduras in two weeks. With the current roster, my guess is that he will be in that startingleft wingback position.
Granted, Atlanta didn’t play their best 45 minutes in the first half but when the team was able to connect and get into a rhythm, they were quickly able to create scoring opportunities. Between here and Feb. 18, I expect the team’s chemistry to be a lot better and the passes to be more sharp.
But what worries me at the moment is if the team will make anymore signings or wait until the summer window. While the team has talented players on the bench, in my opinion, they do not have a super sub like they did last year with Tito Villalba or even a leader such as Michael Parkhurst.
Great soccer atmosphere in the south
Saturday’s match saw 6,722 fans filled the stands at BBVA Field in Birmingham, a soccer franchise that is about to enter its second year of existence and currently competes in the United Soccer League (USL).
For Birmingham residents, seeing their local club face the 2018 MLS Cup Champions definitely brings a level of excitement of soccer that can’t be replicated and helps grow the sport of soccer in the city.
United has now faced Chattanooga FC, Charleston Battery and Nashville SC, which has not only helped grow the sport of soccer but also helped to make new fans along the way.
Bonus: George Bello’s injury
Bello suffered a head injury late in the second half and had to be taken off the field in a stretcher and was taken to a local hospital. Hours later, a team’s spokesperson said that Bello was released from the hospital and was taken back to Atlanta.
For Bello, this is a season where there is much anticipation over his growth as a soccer player and many, including myself, see Bello as a player that will receive much playing time under De Boer.
With that being said, let’s hope Bello’s injury will not keep him off the field for too long.