The day at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground started off nice enough on Tuesday morning...before the blistering heat began pouring in from a wide open sky. Atlanta United is rapidly preparing for this weekend’s crucial match, and some international players have already arrived back for training following their individual matches with their national teams.
Giorgos Giakoumakis was already practicing with the team, and Thiago Almada’s flight was set to land this morning. Saba Lobjanidze and Luis Abram are expected back Wednesday, while Miles Robinson and Derrick Etienne will be later.
Almada may be on the way here to the training ground soon, but he bout to get stuck in some gnarly traffic on the way from the airport Ask me how I know pic.twitter.com/JKlbT6AId5— Tyler Pilgrim (@ATLPilgrim) September 12, 2023
The one arrival, however, who everyone had been waiting for was newcomer Jamal Thiaré. Thiare finally made it to the United States on Sunday after a lengthy visa process and trained for a couple of days prior to joining the team Tuesday morning.
The team went through a variety of drills in front of media and others, mainly focusing on quick transitions, winning the ball back rapidly through pressure, and breaking lines, while the defenses in those scenarios all had to handle the speedy movement that they’re sure to see out of Inter Miami on Saturday. For inquiring minds, Jamal Thiaré looked sharp in his movements and finishing, netting a couple of goals at different points throughout the drills.
It was @JamalThiare14 first media session today, and he just gave some insight into arriving here and what he’ll bring to the team. Said he loves the facilities and ground, and though he’s extremely tired from the travel and visa process he’s ready if Pineda needs him. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/3EhbdQJmlu— Tyler Pilgrim (@ATLPilgrim) September 12, 2023
Once training wrapped up, both Thiare and Caleb Wiley spoke to the media. Jamal Thiaré fielded various questions about his transfer, visa process, and style of play, noting that he would he be ready if the coach needed him. He also admitted that currently, the travel had caught up with him and he was indeed tired (though he didn’t seem so in training). He pointed out that he knew the team was looking for depth at the striker position and was excited to start off on this new adventure in a new country, culture, and language, while helping the team.
Caleb Wiley also spoke, giving insight into how the Five Stripes were preparing for Miami this time over the prior, ill-fated meeting during the Leagues Cup.
“We’re working on being more compact defensively,” he said. “And we have to make sure we finish our chances offensively.” He also pointed out that they have to always be aware of Messi and where he’s located, and for him specifically, being aware and intentional about when to move forward.
Caleb mentioned his relationship with Tristan Muyumba and Xande Silva both on and off the field. He said they’re both great human beings and they’ve talked at length about a variety of topics, both soccer and non-soccer related, specifically about life overseas. Wiley also described his chemistry with Xande, noting that he understands Silva is a player who loves to get forward and take on guys 1v1 so he looks for him upfield often, leaving him to focus on his defensive responsibilities and timing when he’s going to enter the attack.
Atlanta United has a few more days of training before they take on Inter Miami at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday. A win would mean Inter Miami’s first loss since Messi arrived to the south Florida team, and a huge three points to continue solidifying their place in the playoff picture. Be sure to leave us your comments and thoughts below!