Matheus Rossetto and Anton Walkes, two players who made their Atlanta United debuts this preseason, and George Campbell, who played deep into the game, impressed manager Frank de Boer in Saturday’s 3-2 win against Birmingham on Saturday.
Rossetto, whose signing was announced Monday, came on to start the second half and scored the winning goal in stoppage time with a patient play in front of goal. He found a pocket of space between defenders, took a pass from Mo Adams and waited on defenders to commit before scoring with his left foot into the lower left corner. It was the final of several strong plays made by the Brazilian midfielder, whose dribbling skills looked silky, according to Jake Mulraney.
“We are going to have a lot of pleasure with him on the roster,” de Boer said.
Campbell, 18, started as the left centerback in a three-man group. He also showed his dribbling skills, often beating his man one-on-one to get up the field and make Birmingham defenders make decisions, which is something de Boer has said he wants to see.
“He can look back on a good performance,” de Boer said.
Campbell, a rookie, said he thinks he can improve his passing, saying several efforts weren’t as sharp as he would have liked.
“It all starts with experience and confidence,” he said. “As I grow into playing on the team, I’ll get better as I go along.”
Campbell said he was helped by Walkes, who started at left wingback. Walkes’ signing was announced in January, but he didn’t join the team until late last week in its final days in training camp in Florida. It’s Walkes’ second stint with Atlanta United after playing with the team in 2017 while on loan from Tottenham Hotspur. Walkes most often played right fullback then. He spent the previous two seasons at Portsmouth in England.
“Anton did really well,” de Boer said. “I was pleased with what I saw.”
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