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  • Writer's pictureRichard Fleming

Team Profile: Atlanta United FC

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

Year founded: 2014. First season in MLS: 2017. Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Honors: MLS Eastern Conference (2018), MLS Cup (2018), U.S. Open Cup (2019), Campeones Cup (2019).

2023 highlights: Atlanta begin their seventh season in MLS with four of their first six games at home. Their first road trip should be an emotional one as they visit Charlotte FC on March 11th. Former Atlanta defender Anton Walkes was getting set for his second season at Charlotte when he was tragically killed in a boating accident in Florida. The 2018 champions open with a home game against San Jose Earthquakes and end the regular season at FC Cincinnati on October 21st. Their Western Conference road trips include a visit to LAFC, Seattle, and FC Dallas.

Head Coach: Gonzalo Pineda.

Players to watch: The obvious ones would be World Cup winner Thiago Almada, striker Luiz Araújo, and central defender Miles Robinson. They also have vast experience in between the sticks in the shape of Brad Guzan and defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, both of whom will be hoping for an injury-free 2023 in the twilight of their careers.

​Players in:

​Players out:

​Luis Abram (transfer from Granada) Clement Diop (free agent)

Derrick Etienne Jr. (free agent)

Giorgos Giakoumakis (transfer from Celtic)

Amar Sejdic (re-signed)

Quentin Westberg (signed from Toronto)

Tyler Wolff (recalled from loan at Belgian club Beveren)

  • One notable addition to the Five Stripes is that of Garth Lagerway as President and CEO after eight hugely successful seasons at Seattle Sounders.

​Mikey Ambrose (out of contract)

George Campbell (trade to Montréal)

Ronaldo Cisneros (loan expired)

Alex De John (out of contract)

Dom Dwyer (waived)

Alan Franco (transfer to São Paulo)

Raúl Gudiño (option declined)

Emerson Hyndman (by mutual consent)

Josef Martinez (contract buyout, joined Inter Miami)

Marcelino Moreno (on loan to Coritiba)

Edwin Mosquera (loan to Defensa y

Justicia) Rocco Ríos Novo (loan expired)

Bryce Washington (option declined)

  • Ezequiel Barco will remain on loan at Argentine club River Plate through 2023.

2022 summary: last season was one in which the Five Stripes suffered a catalogue of serious injuries, including Osvaldo Alonso (ACL), Brad Guzan (torn Achilles tendon), and Miles Robinson (ruptured Achilles). Guzan and Robinson both sustained their injuries on the turf of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

These were factors in what turned out to be rough year for the 2018 champions, as they finished 11th in the 14-team Eastern Conference. They were four places and eight points outside the playoff places, having finished six places and 11 points better off the year before.

Taking a quick glance at their numbers, and road form was perhaps the difference. They managed just two of their 10 wins away from home. This number equaled the lowest number of road wins in six seasons in MLS, matching the Covid-hit 2020 campaign, when only 10 away games were played.

Josef Martinez was the team's leading scorer, though his nine goals from 26 appearances (12 starts) marked the first time he has failed to register double digits in a season outside of 2020, in which he tore an ACL just 69 minutes into his first game. Interestingly, not one of his nine goals were game winners.

Thiago Almada was the creative force, chipping in with 12 assists. Other key contributors in this area were Marcelino Moreno (8), Brooks Lennon (7), and Luiz Araujo (6).

Guzan's injury contributed to a rotation in the goalkeeping department, with Atlanta giving minutes to four players. Rocco Rios Novo made the most appearances (16) but is no longer with the club after his loan expired. Facts and Stats: having begun life in MLS with 70 goals in each of their first two seasons (2017-18), Atlanta has stuttered of late, failing to reach 50 in their two most recent campaigns, scoring 45 in 2021 and 48 in 2022. Last season they gave up 54 goals, the most they have conceded in franchise history. Their 14 losses in 2022 were also the most defeats in six seasons in MLS.

Milestones for 2023: Atlanta's trip to New York City FC on April 8th will be their 200th regular season match in MLS.

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