The Atlanta United man of the match from Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Chattanooga will be men of the match.
Why not just one player? I’m in preseason form too.
The players are Yamil Asad, Miguel Almiron and Andrew Carleton.
Key stat: One goal.
What else: Asad looked shaky at the start in losing the ball, but he grew into the game. He tracked back well on defense, pressed with energy in the offensive end, and was rewarded with a beautiful goal into the opposite top corner.
“My goal, I received it really fast, turned and shot,” he said through a translator.
Key stat: One assist on the opening goal.
What else: If you fall asleep on Almiron, he seems likely to burn you. He popped up in pockets of space throughout the game. His run of more than 40 yards drew defenders and created space for Hector Villalba to run into in scoring the opening goal. And, in a show that Chattanooga was aware how dangerous he can be, Almiron was fouled numerous times, including twice in the first two minutes.
Key stat: One goal.
What else: It wasn’t just the goal, which started with Carleton stealing the ball from a Chattanooga player and then finishing the run off a nice pass from Kevin Kratz, it was the passes. He hit two perfectly weighted long passes, either of which could have resulted in goals with a little bit of luck. But he also didn’t look like a 16-year-old from Powder Springs playing against grown men. He looked natural.
He said he and teammate Chris Goslin, the team’s other Homegrown Player, had talked in the first half about what they might do if they scored. After Carleton’s goal, he ran to the Atlanta United supporter’s section and jumped into the crowd.
“It was a dream come true to get on the field and be able to play,” he said. “I try to take it step by step and enjoy it as much as possible. It’s what I’ve worked my whole life for and just hoping to continue to grow as a player and as a person to have more success.”
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