Atlanta United's George Bello hits a cross in Thursday's game against Herediano in the CONCACAF Champions League in Heredia, Costa Rica. (Atlanta United)

Atlanta United’s Bello says he will learn from Herediano game

The 17-year-old played a part in two of Herediano’s goals, but did show the pace and attacking mindset that have sparked Atlanta United’s supporters to constantly call for his inclusion in lineups.

“I’m pretty hard on myself,” the Douglasville native said. “I wouldn’t say I did the best. I want to learn from here. I’m not going to let it bring me down.”

Manager Frank de Boer said he selected Bello, who has just two career starts, over Brek Shea, who has nine appearances in Champions League games, at left wingback because he said Bello was a better fit for the hard, uneven turf field.

Herediano’s first goal started when a cross-field pass was cut out by Bello, who tried to chest it to Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. He attempted to head it to goalkeeper Brad Guzan, but the pass was under-hit. Herediano’s Jose Guillermo Ortiz jumped on the loose ball and chipped Guzan for the opening goal in the seventh minute.

Herediano’s third goal started when Bello crashed into one of their players, resulting in a free kick and subsequent goal in the 50th minute. 

Bello wasn’t directly at fault for either goal. But he was one of many players who didn’t play his best. Bello finished with four tackles, not missing on any of those opportunities. He had one interception and three recoveries.

Bello got an earful from Gonzalez Pirez later in the second half when he got caught upfield on an Herediano counterattack. Captain Michael Parkhurst said getting caught too far up the field will happen to every defender.

“George did fine,” Parkhurst said. “He held his own one-on-one. It’s a performance to build on.”

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