Atlanta United scrimmaged with Charleston Battery Saturday morning in a session of 30-minute quarters that the Five Stripes “won” quite easily. Of course, the Battery are still in the opening days of their preseason, so the more interesting aspect was not the scoreline, but the movements, patterns and performances we saw on the field. Here are five things that stood out:
- Ezequiel Barco looked fantastic. Energetic, especially defensively as soon as Atlanta lost the ball, was paticularly good to see. He also scored a beautiful free kick form the edge of the box, and hit the crossbar on another occasion with an audacious attempt with the outside of his boot. Hopefully this kind of performance is anindicator for what should be a hugely pivotal season in Barco’s career.
- The scrimmage was the best opportunity we’ve had to understand the positional play of Santiago Sosa in the deep-lying midfield role. Sosa was dropping deeper than the center backs once the ball had progressed through him and into the attack. Sosa looked mostly sharp with his passing and spotted some nice diagonals (played on the ground) to fullbacks positioned high up the wings.
- Lisandro Lopez played the first two halves with the starting unit and interestingly dropped deep — not the “poacher” kind of role that might have been expected. Lopez was instrumental though in the attack as a creative passer and link-up player for others like Barco and Erik Lopez.
- Machop Chol was all over the place in the second half of the scrimmage, arguably looking like the best player on the field. Chol scored a nice goal, which didn’t get caught live but you can see it here.
5. Overall a very solid day for the Five Stripes. It’s worth noting again that the Battery are reportedly only in their third or fourth day of training and Atlanta’s superior fitness level was apparent after the first 20 minutes of play. We could talk about pretty much every individual player who had some bright spots. Let us know who/what stood out to you in the comments below.