Atlanta United hits training fields for second time

Atlanta United defender Fernando Meza dribbles the ball during voluntary individual workouts at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground on Friday. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)
Atlanta United defender Fernando Meza dribbles the ball during voluntary individual workouts at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground on Friday. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Credit: Fernando Meza

Credit: Fernando Meza

Some of Atlanta United's players participated in the second set of individual voluntary workouts at the team's training center on Friday.

Among those participating were Ezequiel Barco, George Bello, Manuel Castro, Franco Escobar, Pity Martinez, Fernando Meza, Eric Remedi and Anton Walkes.

As was the case Wednesday, following MLS protocols for social distancing during COVID-19, fields were divided into quadrants with each player working out by himself in a quadrant. No more than eight players are allowed to participate in a training session.

“It’s very strange,” Walkes said in a video posted by the team. “Fairly separate from everyone. But it’s a great blessing to come in where we have an opportunity to get the work done under supervision, which is the best thing about it.”

The first session held by Atlanta United occurred on Wednesday, which was the first day allowed by MLS. Among the players who participated in that session were Barco, Bello, Castro, Edgar Castillo, George Campbell, Jeff Larentowicz, Pity Martinez, Remedi, Matheus Rossetto and Laurence Wyke. Atlanta United President Darren Eales on Thursday said that the 20 players who were near and are healthy participated on Wednesday.

» PHOTOS:  Atlanta United players return to the practice fields

Eales said that after Friday’s session the team would start to gather data to see if the intensity of the workouts could be increased. He said the team would be cautious. They don’t want to work the players too hard too soon and risk soft-tissue injuries.

Players haven't been able to practice in large groups since March 12. MLS has mandated that will remain the case through May 15 and there will be no games through June 8. The season was postponed after teams had finished the second of 34 games.

“It’s always tough after being away for a while,” Barco said in a transcript provided by the team. “We’ve been stopped for two months now, maybe just working out from home or on our own. Returning to training and working on our fitness and with the ball is important for what’s to come.”

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