Erik Lopez growing comfortable as Atlanta United player

Atlanta United player Erik Lopez.
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Atlanta United player Erik Lopez.

Credit: Atlanta United

Credit: Atlanta United

Erik Lopez is starting to feel more comfortable as an Atlanta United player.

Lopez, 19, signed with Atlanta United 2 last summer and wasn’t going be added to the first-team roster until this season. He was able to train. Once the 2020 league season ended, he was added to the Champions League roster and played well in the 1-0 win against Club America in December.

Those few months helped him acclimate, which should help him this season now that he is on the first-team roster and competing for minutes as a second striker or winger.

“Being able to be here and train help me adapt to the city, adapt to the new team,” he said. “I had the desire to play, but being able to train here helped my adaptation and served me well.”

Lopez has been training mostly as a winger during the first week of training camp. He said that he can tell a difference between now and his performance in the game against Club America.

“When I arrived to the club, I hadn’t played in six to seven months because of the pandemic,” he said. “I noticed I was missing a little bit of rhythm. Since the new coach has gotten here, I’m feeling good, feeling like I’m getting my rhythm and am learning a lot of new things from the coaching staff.”

Lopez said he signed with Atlanta United because he sees the club as being on a great path. He said he thinks he will have good seasons and then potentially jump to another league. That is, of course, what Miguel Almiron, also a native of Paraguay, did when he moved from Atlanta United to Newcastle in England. Lopez said he knows Almiron, but didn’t have a chance to talk with him about joining Atlanta United before he signed. He didn’t get a chance to talk to Hector Villalba, another former Atlanta United player who now plays in Paraguay, either.

Lopez, a native of Paraguay, said he lives in Marietta and enjoys going for walks learning about where he lives. He described living in the U.S. as calming for its quality of life and the improving quality of MLS.

Lopez said his goals are to play as many minutes as possible and to help the club win trophies. At winger, Lopez is competing with Ezequiel Barco, Jurgen Damm, Jake Mulraney and Brooks Lennon, among others. At striker, he is competing with Josef Martinez, Erick Torres and Lisandro Lopez. Those will be tough groups to crack.

“It’s been great to be able to train with the guys,” he said. “Adaptation has been smooth. Teammates have treated me well.”

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