Manuel Castro adjusting to solo life in Atlanta with Atlanta United

Atlanta United midfielder Manuel Castro #15 dribbles the ball during the second half of the first leg match between Atlanta United FC and Club America in the quarterfinal round of the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday March 11, 2020. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)
Atlanta United midfielder Manuel Castro #15 dribbles the ball during the second half of the first leg match between Atlanta United FC and Club America in the quarterfinal round of the 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday March 11, 2020. (Photo by Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Credit: Manuel Castro

Credit: Manuel Castro

Manuel Castro spent almost a month waiting to get to Atlanta United.

His loan from Estudiantes in Argentina was announced Feb. 10. Because of a longer process to complete a work visa, Castro didn't join the club until March 5.

And then, seven days later, the MLS season was suspended because of concerns about COVID-19.

Castro said Monday that he doesn’t wish that the visa process could have taken a little bit longer. Had that happened, instead of being alone in an apartment in Atlanta, Castro could have been with family or friends in his native Uruguay or in Argentina.

“I don’t know if it would have been better,” he said through an interpreter. “This is something that no one expected. Everyone has to be strong to get through this experience. Hopefully we can get to normal life soon.”

Castro didn’t complain about this new normal Monday.

When he arrived in Atlanta, he was in a hotel. But the hotel closed. Castro moved in with teammate Eric Remedi for a few days.

Castro said he was fortunate enough to secure an apartment a few blocks from Remedi’s residence.

Castro said he spends his mornings training, and in the afternoon he talks to family and friends in Uruguay. Drinking mate (a traditional caffeinated drink in some South American countries), watching news from South America, and playing FIFA on his PlayStation also are part of his routine. Manchester City has been his team of choice recently.

He said he goes to the grocery store once a week to stock up on food. He said he is doing his best to eat healthy so that's ready when the reason resumes.

The good news for Castro is in his short time with Atlanta United he got to play against Club America in the first leg of the Champions League series. He came on in the 58th minute with the Five Stripes trailing 3-0. He put his shot on goal.

Castro said it was a difficult game because within just a few minutes of the start, the 2-0 score forced Atlanta United to change it plans.

He said the team started to play well, but Club America’s third score forced Atlanta United to try to pick itself back up again.

Castro said he felt comfortable with the ball and his teammates.

“It was a difficult result,” he said. “Still, we are excited and think we can turn the series around.”