Three key Atlanta United players resume training

Atlanta United forward Xande Silva #16 controls the ball during the first half of the match against Seattle Sounders FC at Lumen Field in Seattle, WA on Sunday August 20, 2023. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta United)

Credit: Mitch Martin/Atlanta United

Credit: Mitch Martin/Atlanta United

Atlanta United forward Xande Silva #16 controls the ball during the first half of the match against Seattle Sounders FC at Lumen Field in Seattle, WA on Sunday August 20, 2023. (Photo by Mitch Martin/Atlanta United)

Atlanta United striker Giorgos Giakoumakis, winger Xande Silva and centerback Stian Gregersen have resumed training ahead of Saturday’s match against Cincinnati at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Giakoumakis, who leads the team with five goals, and Gregersen, who has missed the past four matches, worked out Monday. Silva, who has missed the past two matches after sustaining an adductor injury, resumed training Tuesday.

The majority of the players, many of whom played in the 2-2 draw Sunday against Philadelphia, worked out in the gym Tuesday. Seven players, including two goalkeepers, participated in some team drills Tuesday. Centerback Derrick Williams, who sustained a calf injury two weeks ago, remains out.

“We want all of our guys back as quick as possible,” team captain Brad Guzan said. “And it’s not just those guys. it’s everyone. The quicker we’re able to get guys back, the better for them individually, but better for us as a group.”

MLS commissioner Don Garber (center left) and Falcons owner Arthur Blank (center right) celebrated Atlanta’s MLS expansion franchise last month. The next task for the team is finding a president. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

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Anniversary. April 16 is the 10-year anniversary of the press conference for Arthur Blank purchasing the MLS franchise.

The event was held near Olympic Park, with Blank and MLS Commissioner Don Garber taking a short helicopter ride from the W building to the event space on the other side of the park.

Atlanta United played its first match in 2017, won its first MLS Cup in 2018, and its first U.S. Open Cup in 2019. It has led the league in attendance in each of the past seven seasons.

Guzan was playing in England at the time. He would sign with the club in 2017 and begin playing that summer when the transfer window opened.

“You never know what’s around the corner,” he said. “When you see that a franchise like Atlanta United, in the city of Atlanta, has been awarded a franchise, and there’s going to be a team and a club here, and when you have the backing of someone like Arthur Blank in terms of his support and his backing, you know, things are looking up for this city for the league in general. We want to continue to push those boundaries and continue to lift the bar of the league and of the sport.”

New rules? The International Football Association Board is proposing a trial in a yet-to-be-decided lower league to see how potential new rules for goalkeepers might work. If successful, the law would go into effect for the 2026-27 seasons.

The rule change would punish goalkeepers who waste time by holding onto the ball for longer than eight seconds. The current rule is six seconds, but it’s rarely enforced. The eight-second rule would be enforced with either a corner kick or a throw-in to be taken in line with the penalty mark given to the non-offending team.

The eight seconds would start once the goalkeeper clearly has controlled the ball. The referee will start counting down from eight. When he or she reaches five, they will raise their arm. Goalkeepers who are judged to violate the rule will be warned for the first offense and cautioned for subsequent offenses.

Guzan is not a fan of the proposal.

“We need to try to implement all the rules for 90 minutes of a game, not just when we feel it’s appropriate,” Guzan said.

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Atlanta United’s 2024 schedule

Feb. 24 Columbus 1, Atlanta United 0

March 9 Atlanta United 4, New England 1

March 17 Atlanta United 2, Orlando 0

March 23 Toronto 2, Atlanta United 0

March 31 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 0

April 6 Atlanta United 1, NYCFC 1

April 14 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2

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.

July 26 vs. D.C. United in Leagues Cup, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 4 vs. Santos Laguna in Leagues Cup, 4 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.