Tata Martino played most of his first team players last night in Atlanta’s loss to Columbus in what some saw that he treated like an MLS game. Given that Columbus are one of the tougher teams in the league, not many could really blame him, as he gave first team players like Michael Parkhurst, Kenwyne Jones, Hector Villalba, and Miguel Almiron extended run outs in the 2-1 loss.
However, this meant that some players were sent on loan for the evening to play for Charleston in the night’s second match against the Sounders. Atlanta players Chris Goslin, Andrew Wheeler, Mikey Ambrose, Alex Tambakis, and Brandon Vazquez were listed on the Battery roster amongst the subs, as well as Jeffery Otoo, who was announced as being the first player to be loaned from Atlanta for 2017.
The majority of the Battery’s starting XI consisted of last year’s starters, with most of the loanees coming on at half time. Alex Tambakis produced a couple of good saves to keep the score 1-0, which set up Kotaro Higashi’s stoppage time heroics.
Wheeler looked as if he was lined up at the back, and he and Ambrose was part of a defense that had to deal with the likes of Nico Lodeiro and Will Bruin in the second half, which they did very well. Chris Goslin was perhaps the most impressive, using his pace and close control to create chances, one which was very dangerous that saw him cut through a few defenders and fire at goal, though the effort was saved by the goalkeeper.
Brandon Vasquez was also a factor, using size and strength to hold the ball up against the center backs. This is something that will interest Battery coach Mike Anheuser, who’s known to employ a slick, fast paced midfield with one, or sometimes two conventional #9’s, and based on his play last night, Vazquez fits that bill perfectly.
Jeffery Otoo also played well, but it was Goslin on the opposite wing that was the most creative of the two, with Otoo playing better in the Battery’s previous friendly against the University of South Carolina.