The team returned mostly healthy. Wingback Gressel said he feels much better than he did against Philadelphia in the final game of the stretch, when he was suffering from the bumps and bruises accumulated during a season that started Feb. 21.
“Mentally and physically refreshed,” he said. “That describes it best.”
Four players didn’t participate Wednesday. Centerback Miles Robinson and goalkeeper Brad Guzan were returning from playing with the U.S. men’s national team. Ezequiel Barco is out with an injury. Andrew Carleton’s absence wasn’t explained by the team. He scored two goals for Atlanta United 2 on Sept. 7.
“I think we look pretty healthy, so that’s a good thing,” Larentowicz said.
To regain its sharpness after the break, Atlanta United scrimmaged 11-on-11 on Wednesday and may do so again Thursday as part of its preparation for Columbus.
Larentowicz said the team is working at becoming better at what it has been doing to make sure its patterns and ideas are sharp.
“Get back in the game rhythm again,” Gressel said. “Can’t have any rust now that you’ve played so much. Can’t have any rust going into it. Be mentally ready for those moments. Pretty good session yesterday to get back into it. Mentally, have a good session tomorrow, and that will prepare us well for Saturday.”