Thiago Almada and Derrick Etienne have resumed training with Atlanta United during its camp in Mexico, manager Gonzalo Pineda said Thursday.
Neither Almada, an attacking midfielder, nor Etienne, a winger, participated Saturday in the team’s friendly at Chattanooga. The team will play its second friendly at Atlante on Saturday. Etienne was rehabbing an undisclosed injury sustained with Columbus last season. Almada experienced a “knock” during a training session last week.
Pineda said the players are being brought along slowly.
“We try to be very careful with that and trying to set the right fundamentals physically, but also technically and tactically for the players to succeed in the rest of the year,” he said.
Pineda said Etienne’s integration into the team is going very well, saying he was fun and brings a good mood to the squad. Etienne signed as a free agent from Columbus after setting career highs in goals (9) and assists (6) last season. He has 17 goals and 17 assists in 148 appearances with the Red Bulls (2016-19), Cincinnati (2019) and Columbus (2020-22).
Etienne said he’s glad finally to be working with his teammates as they learn tendencies.
“I think it’s only a matter of time before it all gets going, and (it) will be quick,” he said.
Etienne will bring speed and a willingness to run behind defensive lines, which is something Pineda has wanted, and he said he doesn’t always need the ball. Etienne also brings familiarity with Andrew Gutman, who likely will play behind him as the left fullback, from their time at Cincinnati.
Etienne said he’s been fortunate to play with skilled attacking midfielders such as Kaku, Lucas Zelarayan and now Almada.
“I feel like it’s another threat that teams have to worry about because like you said, it’s something that’s been lacking so far, but I think that it’s only a matter of time,” he said.
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Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule
Feb. 25 vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m.
March 4 vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.
March 11 at Charlotte FC, noon, Fox
March 18 vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.
March 25 at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
April 1 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.
April 8 at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.
April 15 at Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.
April 23 vs. Chicago Fire FC, 4:30 p.m., FS1
April 29 at Nashville SC, 1:30 p.m., Fox
May 6 at Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.
May 13 vs. Charlotte FC, 7:30 p.m.
May 17 vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m.
May 20 at Chicago Fire FC, 8:30 p.m.
May 27 at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.
May 31 vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m., FS1
June 3 at Los Angeles FC, 10:30 p.m.
June 10 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
June 21 vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.
June 24 at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.
July 2 vs. Philadelphia Union, 4 p.m., Fox
July 8 at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
July 12 at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.
July 15 vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m., FS1
Aug. 20 at Seattle Sounders, 10:30 p.m.
Aug. 26 vs. Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 30 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 2 at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 at FC Cincinnati, TBA
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