Matheus Rossetto’s goal with Atlanta United? Score more goals

Atlanta United midfielder Matheus Rossetto works against FC Cincinnati Saturday, March 8, 2020, in Atlanta.

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Atlanta United midfielder Matheus Rossetto works against FC Cincinnati Saturday, March 8, 2020, in Atlanta.

Matheus Rossetto, who has yet to notch even an assist in 36 appearances with Atlanta United, said Thursday that he wants to help the MLS club by scoring more goals this season.

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To be fair, Rossetto typically has been used as a defensive midfielder, which doesn’t give him opportunities to get higher up the field and in positions to even shoot, much less score. He has taken only nine shots since joining the team before the 2020 season.

“I do enjoy taking the ball up on the field,” he said. “Facilitating the play for the players that are higher up the field, again, is something that I want to do more this year playing more vertical passes, playing the ball more forward, joining the attack, get in the box and maybe score some goals.”

Manager Gonzalo Pineda said he wants Rossetto to start using his passing ability and vision to play the ball more vertically, rather than the safer horizontal passes that he typically plays.

But Pineda defended Rossetto’s choices by saying that there must be targets for him to play to, and there must be passing lanes created by teammates stretching the defense by executing the tactics.

“It’s not an individual sport, it’s more of a collective,” he said. “And that’s how we make sure that everybody knows what the rules are in those situations.”

With the team likely switching to playing four defenders at the back, instead of five, but still wanting the fullbacks to run box-to-box, there should be another midfielder in the formation that Rossetto can work off, or interchange with. He may get more opportunities to move up the field.

He laughed when asked if he will be the late runner into the box, ready to pounce on a cut-back cross or loose ball. He said he would be the player arriving for the late tap-in.

To make that happen, Rossetto said he is working hard during the preseason on improving his fitness so that he can get up and down the field to support the attack, and then get back to defend.

“Gonzalo has been preparing those physically, mentally, and technically on the field to get us ready for this year, which will be a long year full of challenges,” Rossetto said. “But we are working hard and getting ready for it.”

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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule

Feb. 27 vs. Sporting KC, 3 p.m., FS1

March 5 at Colorado, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

March 13 vs. Charlotte, 4:30 p.m., FS1

March 19 vs. Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

April 2 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

April 9 at Charlotte, 3 p.m., ESPN

April 16 vs. Cincinnati, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

April 24 at Miami, 1 p.m., ESPN

April 30 at Montreal, 4 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 7 vs. Chicago, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 15 vs. New England, 2 p.m., ESPN

May 21 at Nashville, 7:30 p.m. FOX

May 28 vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 19 vs Miami, 4 p.m., ESPN2

June 25 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

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

August 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC

August 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

August 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

August 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1

August 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV

August 31 at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

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

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