Atlanta United’s centerbacks welcome competition

With competition coming in with the signing of Juan Jose Purata, Atlanta United centerbacks George Campbell and Alan Franco discussed their partnership in the center of the defense Tuesday.

Campbell and Franco were part of a group that shut out Miami 2-0 last weekend. It was the team’s third shutout this season and first in eight games. The team will get another chance when it plays at Toronto on Saturday.

“I think we have a good connection, as well, as with Alex (de John),” Campbell said. “I think all three of us have been working with each other for a while now. So, I think it’s going to be better and better every game and working more and more.”

Campbell, de John and Franco are the last three healthy centerbacks until Purata is available to play when the transfer window opens July 7. Miles Robinson, an all-MLS defender, suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in April that sidelined him for the rest of the season.

Campbell and Franco seem to be the starting choice for manager Gonzalo Pineda because they started last week’s friendly against Pachuca and then did so again against Miami.

The players are similar. Both can bring the ball up the field to break an opponent’s lines of defense. Campbell completed four dribbles against Miami. Franco completed one. Both are good anticipators of passes. Franco tied for the lead in recoveries (9), and Campbell had seven.

“It feels good knowing that we have guys who are all capable of coming in to step in whenever they’re called and knowing that we have players where we’re 100% and up for it,” Franco said.

Purata should be one of those players. On Tuesday, he took part in his first training session with the team. Campbell and Franco said they welcome the competition.

“I know it’s nice because he’s here to contribute,” Franco said. “So, we know that on the field where we’re brothers and we’re all together. So, of course there’s a healthy competition. But we know that new players coming in, they’re coming here to help. They’re here to contribute.”

For more content about Atlanta United

Follow me on Twitter @DougRobersonAJC

On Facebook at Atlanta United News Now

On Instagram at DouglasDavidRoberson

Atlanta United coverage on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Southern Fried Soccer podcast can be found

Apple -

Spotify -

Google podcasts -

If you are listening to us for the first time, please follow us on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast ... and if you like what you hear, please give us a good rating so we can grow the show.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a special offer for Atlanta United supporters and listeners to this podcast. If you subscribe today, you will not only get unlimited digital access to the AJC and the Sunday paper for $2.30 a week but we are also throwing in a special limited-edition Atlanta United and Atlanta Journal-Constitution scarf. Sign up now at

Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule

Feb. 27 Atlanta United 3, Sporting KC 1

March 5 Colorado 3, Atlanta United 0

March 13 Atlanta United 2, Charlotte 1

March 19 Atlanta United 3, Montreal 3

April 2 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 0

April 10 Charlotte 1, Atlanta United 0

April 16 Atlanta United 0, Cincinnati 0

April 24 Miami 2, Atlanta United 1

April 30 Montreal 2, Atlanta United 1

May 7 Atlanta United 4, Chicago 1

May 15 Atlanta United 2, New England 2

May 21 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2

May 28 Columbus 2, Atlanta United 1

June 19 Atlanta United 2, Miami 0

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

Aug. 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC

Aug. 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 21 at Columbus, 5:30 p.m., FS1

Aug. 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV

Aug. 31 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m., FS1

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