The session was moved from the team’s training center in Marietta to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. That decision was made Saturday morning.
Among the positive signs were Josef Martinez playing 30 minutes during the third session. He had one moment near the end of the period in which he looked like the player who dominated defenses from 2017-19. He one-timed a shot from 18 yards that required a fantastic save by Charleston’s goalkeeper.
Barco, who has had an inconsistent three seasons, looked very good on offense with his two goals. His free kick was expertly placed into the left side. On defense, he forced at least two turnovers with good tackles and consistently applied pressure when Charleston had the ball near him.
Marcelino Moreno also looked strong with at least two long runs.
A pair of Homegrowns, centerback George Campbell and Chol, looked very solid. Campbell was paired with Miles Robinson and the two snuffed out any attacks or counters the Battery attempted. Both also successfully connected on long passes that split Charleston’s lines. Chol scored his goal after shrugging off one attempted tackle and then dribbling across several Battery players until he could find room to shoot.
“I told him afterward that I thought he was great today,” Guzan said. “Smart on the ball. Took his chance really well. A threat every time he got the ball in terms of his link up play. Defensively he’s got speed to burn.”
Santiago Sosa, signed during the offseason and the presumed starter at defensive midfielder, was a tidy orchestrator of the offense. Often dropping between Robinson and Campbell, he connected on several long passes to the wings. He also broke up a few Charleston attacks. He did have at least one turnover. Franco Ibarra, another central midfielder, grew into the exercise with several strong tackles and passes.
Guzan said the team needs to work on defending set pieces. Charleston’s goal was the result of a corner kick that wasn’t cleared properly.
A glimpse into Heinze’s tactics showed the fullback playing very high up the field and sometimes making diagonal attacking runs into the penalty box. Lennon’s goal came as a result of one of those runs.
First Sosa and then Diop were the point players with the ball, spreading long passes around the field.
Atlanta United pressed Charleston when it had the ball, several times creating scoring chances. Erik Lopez’s goal came after Lisandro Lopez created a turnover 40 yards from goal.
With the exception of a few players, including Jackson Conway and Matheus Rossetto, everyone on the roster appeared.
Atlanta United will host Chattanooga on Wednesday and then finish its preseason friendlies with a scheduled game at Birmingham on March 28.