Atlanta United’s Campbell, Wolff focusing on staying focused

Atlanta United forward Tyler Wolff #28 kicks the ball during the first half of the match against Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois on Saturday July 3, 2021. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)
Caption
Atlanta United forward Tyler Wolff #28 kicks the ball during the first half of the match against Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois on Saturday July 3, 2021. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Credit: Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United

Staying focused is the focus of two of Atlanta United’s least experienced players as the team navigates some of its more challenging times.

Midfielder Tyler Wolff, 18 years old, and centerback George Campbell, 20, have become contributors for manager Gabriel Heinze as the team tries to fight through the loss of numerous players to injuries or call-ups to national teams.

Wolff started the past two games and seems likely to start Saturday’s game against New England.

“Throughout the season, it’s hard to get minutes,” Wolff said. “There have been a lot of injuries. Staying focused within the team the whole time and trying to complete the message that Gabbi has each week for us (is the goal).”

Campbell came off the bench in the first half of Thursday’s 2-2 draw with Nashville and may get more minutes against the Revolution. It was only his second appearance with the first team in a league game and first this season. He did play as a sub in the first Champions League game this season at Alajuelense.

“It’s all about keeping the mentality ready,” he said. “Concentrating on the game, knowing the tactics, knowing your role and doing what you have to do.”

The players each had things that were positive.

Wolff said he thinks he is adapting to the difference in speed between playing for Atlanta United 2 in the USL and the first team in MLS. He said that Heinze watches game film with him in a one-on-one setting, and that is also helping him learn. Wolff said his dad, Austin coach and Stone Mountain native Josh Wolff, keeps telling him to have fun. In his two appearances, he has completed an average of 83 percent of his passes and created one chance.

“I’m having fun,” he said. “It’s a great experience with this team and these players.”

Campbell said he thought he read the game well, resulting in several interceptions. Similar to the play of Miles Robinson, who missed the Nashville game and will miss several more because he was called up to the U.S. men’s national team, Campbell attempted several long passes against Nashville. He completed 78.8 percent of all of his passes against Nashville. He said it’s a skill that he works on after training sessions. He said he has yet to speak to Robinson about his performance against Nashville.

“Focusing on what I can control and work on is the most important,” he said. “When you get a chance, take it.”

Heinze said he is pleased with the work done by all of the inexperienced players.

“The most important thing for me is the players who are not used to playing, they performed like they were with the group before,” he said. “What they did is something very important in my profession as a coach.”

ajc.com

Credit: Nick Tre. Smith/ Swope Park Rangers

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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 vs. New England, 5 p.m., ESPN

July 21 at Cincinnati, 8 p.m., FS1

July 24 vs. Columbus, 3:30 p.m., ABC

July 30 at Orlando, 8 p.m., ESPN

Aug. 4 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 7 at Columbus, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 15 vs. LAFC, 4 p.m. ESPN

Aug. 18 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 21 at D.C. United, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 28 vs. Nashville, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 10 vs. Orlando, 7 p.m., FS1

Sept. 15 vs. Cincinnati, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 18 vs. D.C. United, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 25 at Philadelphia,3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 29 vs. Inter Miami, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 2 at Montreal, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 16 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 20 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 27 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 30 vs. Toronto, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 3 at New York Red Bulls, TBD, BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 7 at Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE