Atlanta United’s Franco Ibarra pleased with first start

Atlanta United midfielder Franco Ibarra (right) made his first start of the season last weekend. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Credit: Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United

caption arrowCaption
Atlanta United midfielder Franco Ibarra (right) made his first start of the season last weekend. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Credit: Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United

Franco Ibarra said he felt that he and Matheus Rossetto did a good job limiting the influence of Montreal’s Djordje Mihailovic in last week’s 2-1 loss.

Mihailovic was credited with an assist from a free kick, which there’s not much Ibarra and Rossetto could do against that, but was limited to just two chances created and two shots, neither of which were on target at Stade Saputo.

“I will say they were very good connecting to each other and connecting with Marcelino (Moreno), Thiago (Almada) into the lines,” manager Gonzalo Pineda said. “Very happy Ibarra, Rossetto understanding the key player for them was Mihailovic, and they tried to close him down every time. They did a very good job.”

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This week, the duo may be asked to limit the influence of Chicago’s Xherdan Shaqiri when the Five Stripes host the Fire on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Shaqiri, a former Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Lyon player, is tied for the team lead with two goals, leads in Expected Goals (0.29), Expected Assists (0.23) and Key Passes (17).

Ibarra made his first start because Santiago Sosa was out with an injury. Sosa participated in some training exercises with his teammates Tuesday before doing individual work.

Ibarra hadn’t yet started because he suffered a hamstring injury during the preseason and then missed almost a month of training while securing his green card in Argentina.

He came on as a sub four times before starting against Montreal. Ibarra won two aerial duals, won possession four times and suffered five fouls in 85 minutes.

“I think I needed that so physically I’m feeling very good and being injured, as you guys know, it’s very tough for a player to watch your teammates training all the time and to not be out there with them,” he said. “But I think that each injury makes you a little bit stronger.”

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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 vs. Chicago, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 15 vs. New England, 1:30 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, 3 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

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, 6 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


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