When the 2022 MLS summer transfer window hit, not many folks were banking on Atlanta United targeting a young, Colombian winger named Edwin Mosquera. A U-22 initiative signing, Edwin was officially announced as an Atlanta United player on July 12th, 2022, arrived in Atlanta on August 2nd, and first hit the pitch for the Five Stripes against the Seattle Sounders on August 6th. He hit the ground running, quite literally, and racked up some impressive attacking sequences with a bit of wonderfully welcome attitude, to boot.
Most often utilized as a second-half sub to wield his speed against tired legs, Mosquera would finish off the season with two assists to his name in 312 minutes played. Arguably his best match came on September 10th against Toronto FC where he contributed the assist by winning a header directly into the path of Thiago Almada, who found the back of the net in style.
Things you love to see from @ThiagoAlmada08: THIS ‼️ pic.twitter.com/iT2b655Jn5— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) September 11, 2022
The young man wasn’t without some spicy shots of his own, though. Edwin quickly revealed himself as a vertical runner unafraid to take on defenders 1v1, and his efforts were almost rewarded against the Columbus Crew on August 21st when he scored a beauty that was ruled offside after some shoddy officiating (thanks Joe Dickerson). It was this same match that he tallied his other assist on a corner that found an airborne Juanjo Purata, and if you remember that match...ball don’t lie (you’re welcome, Joe Dickerson).
Mosquera brings plenty to be excited about, especially from a growth standpoint, but let’s take an overall look at how his short time with the Five Stripes has played out.
Edwin Mosquera on why he chose to come to #ATLUTD— Tyler Pilgrim (@ATLPilgrim) August 4, 2022
He said he knew about the club as one of the best in the U.S.
Mentioned he’s here to contribute in any way necessary and has went back and watched four games already to get up to speed. #UniteAndConquer pic.twitter.com/N8pna7PBI0
Minutes: 312 (12 matches played, 1 start)
1 0 (Thanks a ton, Joe Dickerson)
What Went Right?
Edwin Mosquera wasn’t brought to Atlanta to slot directly in as a starter on the wings; he’s still very young and has plenty of development. But his ceiling seems very high, and he’s genuinely an exciting player to watch. Perhaps his most notable skill right now is his speed up and down the wings, but that’s followed closely by his fearlessness. He’s not perfect on the ball, but he isn’t afraid to try going direct either, and it almost paid off more than once for the young man in 2022.
Having Edwin on the U-22 initiative is great for the Five Stripes, as well. It gave the club the potential of very high reward with relatively low risk, and who knows, if Mosquera does evolve into a full starter or even an effective super-sub, Atlanta could be sitting on a gem. Ultimately, though, he provided a spark in the attack that was simply refreshing to see at a point when Atlanta United was floundering. That type of observation isn’t measured by stats or backed up via video reviews, it’s simply an intangible based on the style of play he brought to the pitch.
Also, the guy who styles himself after Robinho gets extra bonus points for being quick to stand up to anyone on the field and defend his team, yet another trait of which this Atlanta United team needs a tad more. The three yellow cards he accrued proves he’s on the right track.
What To Improve On?
The easy answer here is Mosquera simply needs to fine-tune his touches. There were a few times throughout his limited minutes where Edwin turned the ball over too easily, and twice where he mis-touched a pass out to the wing that led to a throw-in for the opposition. He isn’t afraid to track back and fight for the ball in those situations, though, and his defensive actions are decent for such an attack-oriented player. That’s part of the play style Gonzalo Pineda wants to implement; the team has to fall back and defend quickly when they turn the ball over, and if Mosquera can polish up a bit on both sides of the ball, he’ll be an wonderful talent. The main challenge for him will be staying focused with that “first to arrive, last to leave” mentality in training.
What Role Will He Play in 2023?
Expect Edwin Mosquera to continue his role as a speedy sub who can catch a defense off guard. With the offseason addition of Derrick Etienne, Jr, Five Stripe fans can only hope the newcomer will take Edwin under his wing, elevate his game, and build his status as Mosquera works through his four year contract. Additionally, Etienne provides a distinct play style to the left wing, so Edwin’s standing as a game-changing sub may be more impactful in 2023 because he’ll be running at incredibly tired defenders after Derrick is through with them. He also has the added benefit of being comfortable on both wings so there will likely be plenty of moments when fans see a combination of Edwin/Etienne or Edwin/Luiz Araujo as the season progresses. Get to know him and hope for his success, as he’s here to stay!
Overall Player Grade: B- (thanks Joe Dickerson)
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