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The Daily Dirt, February 26: Heroics

Tito Villalba ends the preseason on a high

ATLUTD

They did not win the Carolina Challenge Cup, but last night was a successful one for Atlanta United and Tata Martino. Tito Villalba’s 90th minute goal won the match over the host Charleston Battery and sends the Red and Black into their MLS opener in a week on a high note.

The squad also continued the trend of starting out fast. Yamil Asad, starting at forward in a somewhat unexpected move, scored on a header from Mikey Ambrose’s cross from the left side in the 4th minute. United’s Romario Williams, a likely loan candidate for the Battery, scored for Charleston right before the halftime break.

Tata Martino stressed that everyone will contribute during the season, and his starting lineup reflected that. With the roster compliance deadline coming up during the week, some tough decisions will have to be made regarding international slots and a few other odds and ends. As seen in the preseason though, this roster has depth and many players who will play roles in the club’s success in 2017.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing the team this week on the road to the season opener against the New York Red Bulls? Let us know in the comments below.


Domestic

Over 30,000 expected for Atlanta United’s trip to face Minnesota, the Loons’ home opener (Star Tribune)

Kaka scores the first goal in Orlando City’s new stadium in a preseason friendly (Orlando Sentinel)

The Lions also sent Brek Shea to the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for Giles Barnes in a monster trade (Eighty Six Forever)

San Jose Earthquakes make their final roster moves (Center Line Soccer)

Ashley Cole injured for the LA Galaxy (ESPN)

A recap of the power struggle at FC Cincinnati (Soc Takes)

International

Neymar to Manchester United? (Express)

Local

A look at the Soccer in the Streets’ Station Soccer project (Southeast Makers)