It was a darkish, cloudy morning at Kids’s Healthcare of Atlanta Coaching Floor the place the 5 Stripes continued preparations for the rest of the MLS common season beginning with an Aug. 20 encounter with Seattle Sounders in Lumen Subject.
After a hospitalization for kidney stones following Atlanta’s elimination from Leagues Cup by the hands of Cruz Azul, Ozzie Alonso was again in coaching trying vibrant and wholesome.
Notable absences from coaching included Thiago Almada, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Caleb Wiley who have been all given time without work. Machop Chol was additionally absent recovering from an ankle damage.
There was a brand new face on the coaching floor: Xande Silva, one of many three new signings introduced earlier this week. The 26-year-old Portuguese attacker beamed with pleasure as he spoke to media about becoming a member of Atlanta United.
“It’s a really well-known staff,” Silva mentioned when requested what he knew in regards to the staff earlier than signing, “Everybody in Europe is aware of Atlanta United and I’m very glad to be right here. As I mentioned, I’m right here to work and assist my teammates and the membership.”
Silva acknowledged Lionel Messi’s arrival to MLS however mentioned it wasn’t a think about his determination to signal for Atlanta.
Within the press launch saying Silva’s signing, Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra described the previous West Ham United and Nottingham Forest attacker as a participant that may play “wherever throughout the entrance three.” When requested which place he prefers to play, he mentioned left wing however that he also can play as a striker or a quantity 10. By way of his taking part in fashion, he likes to get pleasure from himself and be free.
“I’m a really quick participant. Good technically, 1v1. As I mentioned, I wish to work to enhance myself and assist the staff,” Silva mentioned.
Bocanegra additionally got here out to talk to media following the conclusion of the MLS secondary switch window.
“Thankfully, we have been in a position to execute on our plan and get the items in and so that you see with the 2 wingers, one other striker up prime and a midfielder in Tristan [Muyumba],” Bocanegra mentioned, “We’re in a position to now have a bunch that we really feel now we have a great stability, now we have good competitors on the positions across the subject and actually assist stabilize for the again half of the 12 months and past.”
Bocanegra additionally acknowledged that outgoing gamers early within the window resembling Luiz Araujo, Andrew Gutman and Franco Ibarra created a problem for Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda as a result of staff not having a “full complement of gamers.” Now, he mentioned he feels good about how the roster is constructed shifting ahead.
Atlanta United introduced two wingers on deadline day: Silva and 28-year-old Georgian worldwide Saba Lobjanidze who was signed to a DP contract that may be purchased down later. Bocanegra mentioned that the plan is for each to be starters and affect gamers. He expects visas for each and Jamal Thiaré to be performed in about two weeks.
From Georgia to Georgia ✈️
Welcome to Atlanta, Saba ✍️
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) August 2, 2023
Bocanegra took a second to reward Silva’s resilience via the numerous strikes he’s had in his profession and a abdomen ailment that sidelined him for a very long time.
“He’s bought just a little chip on his shoulder and that I feel he desires to show one thing, in order that’s good,” Bocanegra mentioned.
Though the membership added three attacking gamers, there was nonetheless the staff’s defensive woes to deal with. The 5 Stripes has conceded the second-most targets in MLS (39) this season simply behind Charlotte FC (40) and conceded 5 targets in its two Leagues Cup appearances. Bocanegra defined that signing Tristan Muyumba earlier within the window was meant to deal with a few of the staff’s defensive issues, so bringing the three attackers introduced stability to the squad.
“Though he [Muyumba] did fairly properly getting within the opposition’s field final recreation, that’s not essentially his primary power: to assist solidify the center ball-winning,” Bocanegra mentioned, “I feel you noticed just a few of his performs that he’s breaking on tackles and stuff.”
The membership signed a whopping three of 4 gamers from France’s Ligue 2 over the summer season, main many to take a position that the membership had a brand new mannequin of participant recruitment geared towards bringing in gamers from there. Bocanegra mentioned it was only a coincidence that three gamers from France’s second division have been signed and that many various leagues and gamers have been checked out.
Based on Bocanegra, the scouting course of for this window was not very completely different from earlier home windows, however the membership did enlist the assistance of information analytics companions SRC FTBL and StatsBomb which membership President and CEO Garth Lagerwey mentioned would help in participant acquisition and identification.
Bocanegra additionally mentioned the membership was nonetheless having conversations with Miles Robinson and that his contract renewal choice remained on the desk.
“We’re having nice conversations. He’s a fantastic child, like there’s no strain. We hope he stays and we may help construct round him for the long run, however we’ll see. That’s one thing we are able to’t management and so we’re specializing in the now,” Bocanegra mentioned.
Bocanegra wrapped up the presser by discussing how conversations have modified in relation to bringing gamers to Atlanta United and the way the membership attracts potential signings. He recounted his expertise assembly with former participant Miguel Almiron and “promoting a dream” with alluring particulars of the plans for Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the membership’s coaching floor. Right now, the membership’s broad model publicity is a significant component in attracting new expertise.
“Now, it’s extra folks see us on TV,” Bocanegra mentioned, “They see the stadium, they see the amenities and their mates take and other people inside the soccer neighborhood speak and I feel this group has performed a improbable job of giving the sources not solely on the sphere however off the sphere.”