Atlanta United’s international break concluded successfully — primarily due to no injuries — but also because two of its biggest stars in Thiago Almada and Josef Martinez made notable impressions for their respective national teams.
Almada didn’t play in Argentina’s second of two friendlies that occurred yesterday, which is even better for Atlanta United as they can expect to get a player back relatively fresh and not playing his second game in two weeks when the Five Stripes hope to keep their season alive this Saturday against the New England Revolution. But clearly Almada made an impression with his national teammates — most notably in quote from Lionel Messi after the team’s 3-0 win over Honduras last Friday. (If you haven’t seen these yet, where have you been?)
And then Atlanta United’s other two players on senior international duty, Josef Martinez and Ronald Hernandez, helped their native Venezuela to a 4-0 win over the United Arab Emirates Tuesday. Hernandez got the start at right back, and Josef Martinez came off the bench to score this goal:
Hopefully the positive vibes with these players come with them back to the team this week ahead of a critically important game on Saturday. Kickoff between Atlanta United and the New England Revolution is set for 1:30 from Gillette Stadium.