Brad Guzan again will be an Atlanta United captain, but may not start

Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan during training camp at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Tuesday, January 16, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /



Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan during training camp at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Tuesday, January 16, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

Brad Guzan again will be one of Atlanta United’s captains, but manager Gonzalo Pineda wouldn’t say whether he or Josh Cohen will start Saturday’s season-opening game at Columbus.

“Just a bit of patience,” Pineda said Thursday.

Guzan, 39, is the team’s all-time leader in appearances (197) and has served as a team captain for the past several seasons. He is in the last guaranteed year of his contract. Atlanta United signed Cohen in the offseason to compete for the starting goalkeeper spot. The two split minutes in the preseason.

Guzan made 27 starts last season and allowed 39 goals, with a save percentage of .610. Atlanta United’s defense was the worst of the 18 teams that made the playoffs, with 53 goals allowed.

Pineda reminded that in 2022, during which Guzan sustained a season-ending Achilles rupture, he remained a team captain.

“Being a captain, he’s not wearing the armband, and in the game, the captain is way much more than that,” Pineda said. “So for us, he’s the captain, whether he’s on the field or he’s not. So it’s just not related.”

Striker Giorgos Giakoumakis served as captain in at least one preseason friendly. Giakoumakis said he didn’t know anything about if he might also be named as a captain, or vice captain.

“All I know is that I have to do my best this year, I have to prove every single game why they signed me,” he said.

While Pineda wouldn’t say who will start in goal, he said that Thiago Almada will be available Saturday. Alamada missed the preseason because he was leading Argentina’s successful charge for a berth in this summer’s Olympics. He rejoined the team earlier this week. Almada, with 11 goals and 19 assists last season, was a finalist for MVP and was named the Young Player of the Year.

Giakoumakis, who scored 17 goals and was named the Newcomer of the Year, said he hopes that he and Almada haven’t lost their chemistry.

“So we’ll take it from where we left it, and we’re going to improve, I think, day by day and game by game,” he said.

Not available for Saturday are striker Jamal Thiare (concussion protocol), Derrick Etienne (ankle) and Edwin Mosquera, who was scheduled to return to Atlanta on Thursday after spending the past few days in Colombia in an attempt to secure a green card. Mosquera missed most of the preseason with a groin injury sustained while playing for the U23 national team.

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Atlanta United’s 2024 schedule

Feb. 24 at Columbus, 2 p.m.

March 9 vs. New England, 7:30 p.m.

March 17 vs. Orlando, 7 p.m., FS1

March 23 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

March 31 vs. Chicago, 3:30 p.m., FOX

April 6 at NYCFC, 7:30 p.m.

April 14 vs. Philadelphia, 2:30 p.m., FOX

April 20 vs. Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

April 27 at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.

May 4 vs. Minnesota, 7:30 p.m.

May 11 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

May 15 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

May 18 at Nashville, 1:30 p.m.

May 25 vs. LAFC, 7:30 p.m.

May 29 at Miami, 7:30 p.m.

June 2 vs Charlotte, 4:30 p.m., FOX

June 15 vs. Houston, 7:30 p.m.

June 19 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

June 22 at St. Louis, 8:30 p.m.

June 29 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

July 3 at New England, 7:30 p.m.

July 6 at Real Salt Lake, 9:30 p.m.

July 13 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 17 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m.

July 20 vs. Columbus, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 31 at Charlotte, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 14 vs. Nashville, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 vs. Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 21 at Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 28 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 2 vs. Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 5 vs. Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 19 at Orlando, 6 p.m.