Moreno’s Atlanta United debut considered successful

Marcelino Moreno (10) - dribbling past New York Red Bulls defender Tim Parker (26) - made his Atlanta United debut Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Branden Camp/For the AJC)

Credit: Branden Camp

Credit: Branden Camp

Marcelino Moreno said hello to MLS with a nifty spin away from a Red Bulls defender, who was then forced to bring him down to keep from starting a counter.

The MLS said hello to Moreno with Red Bulls centerback Tim Parker, not known for his speed, catching Moreno as he sprinted across the field, putting a shoulder into him, and knocking him to the ground with no foul called. And then there was the cut above Moreno’s eye that came from an elbow to the face while competing for a header.

Though Atlanta United was beaten by Red Bulls 1-0, Moreno’s debut, made without him ever having a chance to train with the team, was considered a success by interim manager Stephen Glass and some of his teammates.

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“I think he was fantastic," interim manager Stephen Glass said. "Everyone can see the qualities that he has. He got tired a little bit in the second half. It was a lot to ask of him, but I think he showed why we had the belief to put him in the starting lineup. He has the quality and he showed why he’s at the club.”

Moreno was signed from Lanus in Argentina as a Designated Player. He fills the slot opened when Pity Martinez was sold to Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia. Moreno played 61 minutes on Saturday. He completed 61.5% of his passes. He didn’t take a shot or create a chance. He made one tackle and was tackled three times.

Moreno won’t train with the team until it begins preparing for Wednesday’s game at Inter Miami. He has trained by himself because he needed to complete 10 days of quarantine to guard against COVID-19. It just so happened that the 10 days ended between Atlanta United’s final training session for that game and the game, which is why he was available for selection.

Moreno has watched the team’s games on TV. Glass said he also was able to show him video of the team’s play.

“Other than that, you just trust that a very good footballer knows how to play," Glass said. "He repaid that belief tonight that we put him in the starting lineup. He showed he’s going to be a fantastic footballer for this club. Putting him in the group today means we will get more from him sooner, rather than wait to put him in the team.”

Captain Jeff Larentowicz described the circumstances for Moreno as incredibly difficult.

“He literally just walked in and it was our first opportunity to really get to talk to him face-to-face, but he was dangerous, he was causing problems," he said. "He took a smack in the face and kept going. I think that it was a good debut.”

Atlanta United coming games

Wednesday at Miami (3-7-2), 8 p.m., FSSE

Oct. 18 at Toronto (6-2-4) in Hartford, Conn., 7:30 p.m., FSSE

Oct. 24 vs. D.C. United (2-5-5), 4 p.m., FSSE

Oct. 28 at Orlando (6-2-4), 7:30 p.m., FS1

Nov. 1 vs. Cincinnati (3-6-3), 7 p.m., FSSE

Nov. 8 at Columbus (8-1-3), 3:30 p.m., FSSE

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