Atlanta United’s Sosa learning from Heinze

New Atlanta United signing Santiago Sosa poses for portraits at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta, Ga., on Thursday February 11, 2021. Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Credit: Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United

Combined ShapeCaption
New Atlanta United signing Santiago Sosa poses for portraits at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta, Ga., on Thursday February 11, 2021. Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Credit: Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United

Santiago Sosa said positioning is the most important lesson he is learning from Atlanta United manager Gabriel Heinze during the MLS team’s two-a-day training sessions.

Sosa said he’s a player who likes to move around, sometimes a bit too much and he will get ahead of the ball. He said Heinze, a world-class defender as a player, is teaching him how to be patient and find the right spots in which to receive the ball.

Sosa, 21, is one of three players competing at defensive midfielder for the team. It’s a position that he described as a “pillar” for some teams.

Playing it for Heinze means that Sosa must position himself well to protect the back line. When he receives the ball, he must be able to move it quickly and accurately to the attacking players.

“It’s a position that I’ve played since I was 9 years old,” he said. “I’m very comfortable in it. Over the course of your career You are always learning different things from different coaches.”

Sosa said he tries to model his game in the likeness of Manchester City’s Rodri, and past Real Madrid great Fernando Gago.

Sosa is competing at the position with Franco Ibarra. Another player in the mix, Mo Adams, is out for several weeks after successfully undergoing surgery for a sports hernia.

Defensive midfielder is a position that underperformed last season for the team. With the exception of Adams, those who were on the depth chart are no longer with the club.

Sosa wants to learn and implement what Heinze is teaching because he wants to play. He said leaving River Plate was a difficult decision, one that he mulled for days. It came down to a chance for playing time. He started just 21 times for the Argentinian power during the past few years.

“Coming to a place like this is a new opportunity and a great challenge,” he said.

Sosa may get a chance to show what he’s learned when the team hosts Charleston on Saturday in its second friendly. The game will be at the team’s training ground and is scheduled to be live-streamed. Atlanta United will open its season at Alajuelense in the Champions League on April 6. It will open its league season at Orlando on April 17.