Atlanta United’s Damm working to gain a starting spot

Atlanta United winger Jurgen Damm said he is working hard to improve his fitness and hopes to be able to start a game soon for the MLS team.

But it doesn’t sound as if that will come Wednesday at Inter Miami.

“I think I need a little more time,” he said. “It’s been a long time since I started a game. It’s difficult for me to play 90 minutes. I’ve been training very well. I’ve told Glassy (interim manager Stephen Glass) I feel much better.

“I think I need a little more fitness to be on my level, like I know I can play. I hope soon I can get to that and help the team to win games.”

Damm, considered one of the world’s fastest players, last started a game July 29, 2019, for Tigres against Chivas in LIGA MX. He played 65 minutes.

Damm, who signed as a free agent after his contract with Tigres expired, has made three appearances off the bench for Atlanta United this season. He’s improved from 11 minutes to 13 minutes to 34 minutes in those appearances. He has one assist.

“Each of these games he’s done a little bit more in terms of time on the pitch,” Glass said. “Trying to build him through time within games. He’s getting closer and close to be able to start.”

Damm said he would give himself a grade of a six out of 10 for his play with Atlanta United.

“I know what I can give the team,” he said. “Every training, every day, I try to be better to train my crosses. I want to perform better to give Atlanta more assists, more goals and to be an important player. Without Pity (Martinez) and without Josef (Martinez), team needs players to be leaders.”

Damm also is known for his work on social media, specifically TikTok. He said Pity Martinez described him as the “TikTok star.” Damm said he doesn’t know how many followers he has added since moving to Atlanta United. He said his teammates haven’t asked him for advice on how to use the app. His favorite TikTok’er is former Mexican standout Luis Hernandez.

Injury report. Glass said that centerback Fernando Meza is close to being available to play Wednesday. Meza suffered a knee injury two weeks ago against Nashville.

Anton Walkes has started in place of Meza. Glass said that Walkes has shown great pace and aerial ability against a variety of strikers and that his passing is improving.

Glass said that fullback George Bello, who left Saturday’s game at Orlando, is fine. Glass said that Bello was subbed off because he was exhausted.

Travel routine. Glass said that the team is getting a good handle on the MLS travel routine, which requires teams to fly in and out of cities the day of games to limit exposure to people during COVID-19.

Wednesday’s game will be the third time the team has traveled. It will do so again Saturday at Nashville.

Glass said the team has the timeline for the day nailed down, which includes how much the players sleep the night before and how much they rest in the afternoon.

”A comfort level that comes from that for the players,” Glass said.

Mulraney. Jake Mulraney has continued something he said he has always done: stay after training to work on his crosses.

Mulraney said he doesn’t know if that helped him hit the pass that led to the game-tying assist on Adam Jahn’s goal against Orlando on Saturday. It was Mulraney’s first assist with the team.

“I do a lot extra with my crossing,” he said.

Atlanta United coming games

Wednesday at Miami, 8 p.m. (Fox Sports South)

Saturday at Nashville, 8:30 p.m. (Fox Sports South)

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