Atlanta United continued their preseason on Saturday afternoon with a 3-2 win over the Birmingham Legion at Legion Field. Ezequiel Barco scored the lone first half goal, while Atlanta gave their second string and reserve players the full second half. The youngsters traded two goals a piece with new Five Stripes signing Matheus Rossetto scoring the winner in stoppage time.
With just one preseason match remaining until the real games begin there are really just two main things to talk about after this friendly win.
Worth the wait
Atlanta United’s offseason has tested the patience of even the most reasonable of fans. With so many beloved players heading out the door, many were expecting some impact signings to be brought in to fill the holes. It took quite a while, but it appears that Matheus Rossetto is exactly that signing. He may have come off the bench to play 45 minutes in his first appearance for the club, but his play in his debut shows he’s anything but second string.
The Brazilian oozed quality from the second he stepped on the field. His first touch in that Gold and White secondary kit was a sign of things to come.
What made his 45-minute shift even more impressive is that he was doing it with guys who he probably just met this week and it wasn’t even the starters. He was combining with players who’ll probably be playing the bulk of their minutes either with ATL UTD 2 or on the first-team bench. Yet, that didn’t phase him. He still put his stamp on the game as if he were playing with MLS All-Stars.
His composure and quality on the ball was obvious to see and he utilized both of them to score the winning goal. Mo Adams made a very nice pass into the box where Rossetto had peeled off for a run, beating the offside line. Despite his first touch getting caught up in his feet, he stayed calm by sending a Legion defender all the way to Mississippi. Once free for a shot, he calmly slotted a pass into the far corner.
Welcome to Atlanta, Matheus Rossetto. pic.twitter.com/IhL4O45PVP— Optimistic Usry (@RobUsry) February 8, 2020
Atlanta United have themselves an impact signing. Now the question becomes where does he fit into Frank de Boer’s lineup? A few more showings like this one and it shouldn’t even be a question of if, but when.
Bello’s bad luck continues
The other major talking point has to be George Bello leaving the second half with what looked like a bad injury. He was stretchered off the field after colliding with a Legion defender in mid-air and then slamming to the ground. I’m not going to speculate whether it was a head injury or some other type of injury. However, it looked bad.
Once again, it appears as if a promising chance for Bello to break into the first team could be in jeopardy. Much of the offseason discussion about the left back/left wingback spot revolved about getting him playing time. We can only hope at this point that it looked much worse than it actually was. We’ll update his status as soon as something comes available.
We’ll have more on this friendly later, for now discuss your takeaways in the comments. Who impressed you most? What are your feelings as we inch closer to CCL?