Juan Jose Purata believes he can help lead Atlanta United’s defense

Atlanta United defender Juan Jose Purata kicks a ball during training at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta. Purata believes his experience with Tigres and his high personal standards can help Atlanta United make the MLS playoffs. (Photo by Dakota Williams/Atlanta United)

Credit: Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

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Atlanta United defender Juan Jose Purata kicks a ball during training at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground in Marietta. Purata believes his experience with Tigres and his high personal standards can help Atlanta United make the MLS playoffs. (Photo by Dakota Williams/Atlanta United)

Credit: Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

Juan Jose Purata believes his experience with Tigres and his high personal standards can help Atlanta United improve its defense and make the MLS playoffs.

Purata was acquired on loan by the Five Stripes from the LIGA MX powerhouse June 21.

“I was a captain of each age group for teams that I was on,” he said. “And coming here, as you say, we have a young team, but I think what I can transmit to the guys is that effort, that commitment, that motivation to always give your best. Because I think that’s what I can bring with my experience and just always having high standards.”

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Atlanta United’s defense has been decimated by injuries. In its previous game at Toronto, it started 20-year-old goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo, 23-year-old Aiden McFadden, 25-year-old Alan Franco, 21-year-old George Campbell and 17-year-old Caleb Wiley.

Purata is only 24, but he has made 34 appearances with Tigres since making the first team in 2017. He is eligible to play for Atlanta United when the transfer window opens July 7.

“I’m coming from a big important club in Mexico, Tigres, where the obligation is to win always,” he said. “So you can’t relax even for one day. You don’t have that luxury. The demand is always to win. So that’s the club that I’m coming from, where the expectations are always very high.

“So I’m used to being a part of that environment. I’m used to winning. So I think that’s what I can try and bring to this team is that experience coming from a place where, you know, we were expected to win all the time. And, you know, I think here the quality level is very high. So, you know, we have no excuses here, and I’m going to try and add that to the team.”

Purata said he didn’t hesitate to join Atlanta United when the opportunity arose because he said the team wanted him.

“I know that the quality level here is good,” he said of MLS. “In the past few days, big important players have signed in the league. So I know it’s going to be a challenge, but I think that was also part of the reason to come here was to get out of my comfort zone and to face that challenge, and yeah, and that’s what I’m here to do.”

Since the sale of Leandro Gonzalez Pirez after the 2019 season, it can be argued that Atlanta United hasn’t had a vocal, emotional leader on its back line. Purata said he can be that player.

Manager Gonzalo Pineda said he hopes that Purata can do that, but he cautioned that he hasn’t yet seen him in a game.

“I assume because all the reports that we were asking of teammates or former coaches or people that know Purata, they say he’s that type of guy,” Pineda said. “So we will think he can do it. So far, so good in the training sessions. He talks, he likes to communicate with the players. The language barrier is still there, but I think he’s going to be a good addition on that.”

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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 Atlanta United 4, Chicago 1

May 15 Atlanta United 2, New England 2

May 21 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2

May 28 Columbus 2, Atlanta United 1

June 19 Atlanta United 2, Miami 0

June 25 Toronto 2, Atlanta United 1

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, 5:30 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

Oct. 9 vs. NYCFC, TBD, BSSO/BSSE