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The Daily Dirt, August 17: Kenwyne Jones and Chris McCann debut

Strong first impressions from the Atlanta United signings

Chris McCann vs Bury
Coventry Telegraph @CovTel_CCFC

Two of Atlanta United’s summer signings made their loan debuts yesterday, Chris McCann and Kenwyne Jones.

Jones started up top for Central FC in their CONCACAF Champions League match with Sporting Kansas City last night in his native Trinidad and Tobago. He did not disappoint, scoring one goal and having another ruled out for a foul on the goalkeeper.

He was not fully fit, as he has only been training for a few weeks with Central and this was his first match in since May. It took him 20-25 minutes to get into the flow of the match, which is understandable due to his lack of match rhythm and unfamiliarity with his teammates. He had a strong 40-50 minute run in the middle of the match before getting tired late.

Jones immediately showed his prowess in the air, anchoring the Central defense on set pieces. He scored on a set piece in the first half, but was ruled to have fouled the goalkeeper. It looked more like he won the header and Jon Kempin bounced off of him. Charles Boehm had the best description of the incident:

Early in the second half is when Jones showed why Atlanta United signed him to anchor their attack. His hold up play as a target forward was very strong. He started off the move that led to Central’s equalizing goal with a nice entry pass.

It was his goal that put Central into the lead that showed what he will bring to Atlanta though. He received the ball in midfield and ran at the defense. Jones then laid off a pass to his right and made the overlapping run to lose defenders. His run created space for a through ball that give him a 1v1 with Kempin. His finish to the far corner showed his class.

Fatigue started to get to him after that, as well as his teammates who are not in midseason form like Sporting. Kansas City tied the game and the result likely makes it difficult for Central to advance in the tournament. They will have two more games on the road in Kansas City and Vancouver to try to shake up the group though.

Chris McCann also made his debut for Coventry City after sitting out for the first three games serving a suspension from last season. He played 90 minutes as a left sided central midfielder in the Sky Blues’ 3-4-3 shape. Aidan McCartney of the Coventry Telegraph suspects that McCann was not intended to play the full game, but was forced to after an early injury to former Seattle Sounders midfielder Andy Rose burned a substitution.

McCann offered a “combative presence” in the middle of the field, something Coventry had been lacking in their first three games. His linking passes were also noted by McCartney. He understandably tired in the second half, but his presence was welcomed in Coventry’s 0-0 draw with Bury.

Manager Tony Mowbray told McCartney:

"He's got experience and quality - he competess. He knows where to put the ball, he’s physical, he’s got a lovely soft touch.”

Add in Hector Villalba finding his footing at Xolos, and Atlanta United’s squadron of loanees looks quite strong. With Villalba, Jones, and McCann as a foundation for the inaugural roster, things are looking good for Atlanta in 2017.


Thoughts from Kansas City on their draw against Central FC (The Blue Testament)

Red Bulls get a draw in El Salvador against Alianza in CONCACAF Champions League group stage (Once a Metro)

More on Minnesota’s announcement on Friday (ESPN)

Here’s a look at five North American stars who could benefit from a move to MLS, implies that Atlanta United was after one of them this summer (MLS)

Former Ottawa coach Marc Dos Santos heading back to NASL, will lead the San Francisco Deltas next season. He is leaving the Swope Park Rangers of USL. (RDS)

The U.S. Men’s National Team will host New Zealand at RFK Stadium on October 11 in a friendly (Washington Post)


Sweden and Germany are through to the women’s Olympic final (BBC)

Christian Pulisic could be looking for a loan move to secure more playing time (Sport1)

Joe Hart considering a loan away from Manchester City after being dropped by Pep Guardiola (BBC)

Paul Pogba now revolutionizing hair styles (ESPN)


The Falcons’ training camp is now over, what did we learn? (The Falcoholic)

Braves calling up top prospect Dansby Swanson today (Talking Chop)

Will the Hawks defense improve next season? (Peachtree Hoops)