“I need to try to find a way to get into the team first,” he said. “You know you never know in soccer. You know my main goal is go there, find a way into the team and do my best. I don’t know how many minutes I’m going to play. I know how many games are there, but it’s about going there, day by day train and every day, and you will be ready for for anything.”
Alonso was recruited by manager Gonzalo Pineda, his former teammate and then assistant coach at Seattle. Alonso said it’s easy to talk to Pineda, whom he described as a very passionate player with a fierce desire to win.
The two talked because Alonso was a free agent after playing the previous three seasons with Minnesota. Atlanta United needed a player with the experience and steel to dictate pace and affect results, especially late in games. The club dropped 13 points last season when leading games at the 75th minute, including watching four wins turn into draws at home. It either won 12 points or failed to win 27 when tied at the 75th minute. It went 4-0-5 in those games. It went 0-8-2 when trailing at the 75th minute.
Alonso said as he has gained experience, age and miles on his legs he has learned a few things about himself and keeping results.
First, he said he’s learned better how to read games and angles. With that, he can make decisions when to make fouls or when to take a few extra seconds with the ball to starve the opponent from an opportunity to do anything to try to affect the outcome.
The club also needed someone to be an example for its two young defensive midfielders, Santiago Sosa, 22, and Franco Ibarra, 20. Alonso said he doesn’t know the two players personally but has watched them and knows that they are quality.
“It’s going to be good for me to be an example for them,” he said.
One more impressive thing about Alonso, and perhaps another reason that Atlanta United pursued him, is his streak of never missing the playoffs. That’s 14 consecutive years of participating in the postseason. After all, a team can’t win a trophy if it doesn’t qualify. Atlanta United missed in 2020 and took probably too long considering the talent on the roster to secure a spot in 2021.
Alonso said they key is consistency, which comes from passion.
Even at 36 and nearing 30,000 minutes, Alonso is still very much motivated.
“I’m still hungry to win, hungry to play, hungry to do my best for the team,” he said.
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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule
Feb. 27 vs. Sporting KC, 3 p.m., FS1
March 5 at Colorado, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
March 13 vs. Charlotte, 4:30 p.m., FS1
March 19 vs. Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
April 2 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
April 9 at Charlotte, 3 p.m., ESPN
April 16 vs. Cincinnati, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
April 24 at Miami, 1 p.m., ESPN
April 30 at Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
May 7 vs. Chicago, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
May 15 vs. New England, 2 p.m., ESPN
May 21 at Nashville, 7:30 p.m. FOX
May 28 vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
June 19 vs Miami, 4 p.m., ESPN2
June 25 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
June 30 at New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 3 at NYCFC, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 9 vs. Austin, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 13 vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
July 17 vs. Orlando, 3 p.m., ABC
July 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 9:30 p.m., FS1
July 30 at Chicago, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
August 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC
August 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE
August 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
August 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1
August 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV
August 31 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 4 at Portland, 5:30 p.m., FOX
Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Sept. 14 at Orlando, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE
Sept 17 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., UniMas
Oct. 1 at New England, 1 p.m., UniMas
Oct. 9 vs. NYCFC, TBD, BSSO/BSSE
Atlanta United’s 2021 MLS schedule
April 17 Atlanta United 0, Orlando 0
April 24 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 1
May 1 New England 2, Atlanta United 1
May 9 Atlanta United 1, Inter Miami 1
May 15 Atlanta United 1, Montreal 0
May 23 Atlanta United 1, Seattle 1
May 29 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2
June 20 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2
June 23 NYCFC 1, Atlanta United 0
June 27 Atlanta United 0, New York Red Bulls 0
July 3 Chicago 3, Atlanta United 0
July 8 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2
July 17 New England 1, Atlanta United 0
July 21 Atlanta United 1, Cincinnati 1
July 24 Columbus 1, Atlanta United 0
July 30 Orlando 3, Atlanta United 2
Aug. 4 Atlanta United 2, Montreal 2
Aug. 7 Atlanta United 3, Columbus 2
Aug. 15 Atlanta United 1, LAFC 0
Aug. 18 Atlanta United 1, Toronto 0
Aug. 21 Atlanta United 2, D.C. United 1
Aug. 28 Nashville 2, Atlanta United 0
Sept. 10 Atlanta United 3, Orlando 0
Sept. 15 Atlanta United 4, Cincinnati 0
Sept. 18 Atlanta United 3, D.C. United 2
Sept. 25 Philadelphia 1, Atlanta United 0
Sept. 29 Atlanta United 1, Inter Miami 0
Oct. 2 Montreal 2, Atlanta United 1
Oct. 16 Atlanta United 2, Toronto 0
Oct. 20 Atlanta United 1, NYCFC 1
Oct. 27 Atlanta United 2, Miami 1
Oct. 30 Atlanta United 1, Toronto1
Nov. 3 Atlanta United 0, New York Red Bulls 0
Nov. 7 Atlanta United 2, Cincinnati 1