Atlanta United played to a 4-0 win over USL Championship side Birmingham Legion Sunday to wrap up the club’s preseason campaign heading into the 2022 MLS season.
As reported by Mike Conti and Jason Longshore on 92.9 The Game’s prematch show, there were some noticeable absences for Atlanta United on Sunday. Santiago Sosa and Franco Ibarra are in Argentina working on obtaining green cards and Thiago Almada is working on obtaining his visa. Emerson Hyndman continues to work on his return to full fitness but wasn’t able to play in the friendly, while Machop Chol and Jake Mulraney were out injured. Marcelino Moreno and Brooks Lennon continue are nearing a return to the first team but were deemed unavailable, according to Conti and Longshore.
Alan Franco traveled with the team per a post on the team’s Instagram, but his name wasn’t on the lineup graphic. Franco will be unavailable for the season opener against Sporting KC due to a red card he picked up in Atlanta’s 2021 playoff loss to NYCFC (which you can see here).
With all that out of the way, here’s the starting lineup that Gonzalo Pineda put out for Atlanta United’s final preseason matchup ahead of the 2022 season.
The first half wasn’t great (or even good) for Atlanta United. The first 45 minutes ended with a 2-0 lead in Atlanta’s favor, but the overall play wasn't great. The first goal came in the fourth minute through an own goal and the second goal was admittedly well worked by Amar Sejdić, Matheus Rossetto and Josef Martinez.
Atlanta United came flying out of the gates and doubled their lead within the opening five minutes of the second half. Sejdić was involved in the buildup once again and crossed the ball into the path of Ronald Hernandez, who managed to bring it down and nutmeg the Birmingham goalkeeper to make it 3-0.
RONNIEEEE— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) February 20, 2022
The composure to put that one away pic.twitter.com/lRHYeTdlPw
Just minutes later, Josef Martinez scored a classic Josef Martinez goal, connecting with a grounded cross and putting the ball past the keeper once again.
The majority of the starting lineup played the entirety of the match with two exceptions. Academy graduate Caleb Wiley replaced Andrew Gutman in the 72nd minute and Dom Dwyer, who is still trialing with the club and hasn’t signed a contract according to Longshore, replaced Rossetto shortly after.
Now that preseason is officially over, Atlanta United will look forward to the MLS season home opener against Sporting KC on Feb. 27 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. I hope you all are as excited as we are here at Dirty South Soccer for yet another Atlanta United season to get underway. Make sure to come back to the website and our social channels for coverage throughout the season.