As Atlanta United 2 prepares for their first season in MLS NEXT PRO, the 2s announced today the return of eight players from last year’s team and the addition of three new players to the roster ahead of the club’s first season in MLS NEXT Pro. Goalkeeper Sebastian Guerra, midfielder Kofi Twumasi and forward Karim Tmimi will join ATL UTD 2, pending league and federation approval.
Goalkeeper Vicente Reyes, defenders Raimar and Nelson Orji, midfielders Nick Firmino, David Mejia, Emenike Nwogu, Toni Tiente, and Jonantan Villal all return to ATL UTD 2 for another season. Raimar led this group with four goals and six assists, while former Academy products Mejia and Villal combined for five assists. Reyes made 16 starts in goal and finished the campaign with 85 saves.
Guerra came through Colombian club Atlético Nacional’s academy before signing a professional contract in 2019. On the international stage, The 22-year-old keeper has been called into Colombia’s U-20 and U-23 squads, including being a member of the Colombian team that played for Olympic qualification in 2020. What stands out in his highlights video is his comfort in playing the ball with his feet. He has a cannon for a leg on goal kicks and routinely cleared the midfield to reach the attacking third. He also was comfortable playing very high out of the 18-yard box as a sweeper keeper in a similar fashion to Rocco Rios Novo.
Guerra’s addition to the 2s leaves Atlanta United’s goalkeeping depth chart in a curious place. With four goalkeepers including homegrown player Justin Garces on the senior roster and two signed to the 2s, there will not be a lot of room for allocating minutes to the first-team reserves or to the up-and-coming academy star goalkeepers. The key to this may be whether Vicente Reyes is expected to be away for significant stretches of the season with Chile’s U-20 squad this season thus making the need for depth at the position more apparent. This will be a position to watch to see how it works itself out.
Twumasi is a 26-year-old defensive midfielder who grew up in Ghana. He was identified by Atlanta United scouts while playing for the local Kalonji Pro Profile side against Atlanta United’s U-19s in the 4th division. Prior to joining KSA Pro Profile, Twumasi played for VfB Homberg in Germany where he showed versatility as both a defensive midfielder and centerback when needed. His profile is fairly similar to Toni Tiente who joined the team late in the 2022 season after working his way up from Georgia Gwinnett College and the local fourth-division teams around Atlanta. Twumasi and Tiente will offer a combination of size and experience to the side. This may be bad news for the former academy holding midfielder and returning U-19s captain Alhaji Tambadu who has played admirably with the U-19s in the fall UPSL Georgia season.
Tmimi becomes the third Georgia Gwinnett player to join the 2s after a prolific college career. He scored 36 goals in 47 games played for the Grizzlies, including scoring 18 goals and adding 10 assists during his final campaign. He was honored as a first-team NAIA All-American team selection and the 2022 Continental Athletic Conference Player of the Year. He, too, has played for a local fourth-division team, playing in 2022 for the Georgia Revolution. The Poitiers, France native led the team to the quarterfinal round of the 2022 NAIA National Championships. Standing at just shy of 6 feet tall, Tmimi won’t be an overpowering center forward but could offer an experienced and athletic presence to the side that will also be relying on academy stand-outs like Danial Sebhatu and Italo Jenkins as the main scoring threats.
Welcome to the club Sebastian, Kofi, and Karim, and welcome back to all of the returning players.
A couple of notable players missing from this roster update are Darwin Matheus and the 2022 Superdraft pick and attacking partner for Jackson Conway, Tristan Trager. In a social media post last week, Trager announced his departure from the club to pursue his professional career elsewhere.
2023 Atlanta United 2 roster (as of January 13, 2023)
Goalkeepers (2): Sebastian Guerra, Vicente Reyes
Defenders (2): Raimar, Nelson Orji
Midfielders (6): Nick Firmino, David Mejia, Emenike Nwogu, Toni Tiente, Kofi Twumasi, Jonantan Villal
Forwards (1): Karim Tmimi