Tonight, Atlanta united announced that they have signed free agent Sal Zizzo. Zizzo (ZEE-zoh) is a full back but can play winger if needed.
A San Diego native, Sal Zizzo, will bring some great depth in the defense, specifically the fullback position. Zizzo also doesn’t require an international slot so signing a backup without an international slot was a great move by the team. The 30-year old started his pro career with Bundesliga side Hannover 96 but was then sent to the MLS. He played for four different clubs (Chivas USA, Portland Timbers, Sporting Kansas City, and New York Red Bulls) over eight seasons making 162 appearances. He most recently played for the New York Red Bulls for three seasons and recorded six assists. In his MLS career, Zizzo scored two goals, notched 17 assists, and averaged 54 minutes a game.
“We know Sal had options this offseason and we’re happy he has chosen to sign with our club,” VP and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “He’s a defender who we’ve seen play in a similar high-tempo style with New York Red Bulls and we expect him to come in and add competition to our backline.”
Zizzo has started 90 games of his 162 appearnces in the MLS. Don’t expect that number to get much bigger as Zizzo was most likely brought in for depth and to start a few times in cup competitions. With Anton Walkes signing with Portsmouth, Atlanta United needed an all-around utility defender to add to Tata’s squad.
He played two seasons at UCLA from 2005-06 where he was a winger, earning First Team Top Drawer Soccer National Team of the Season and First Team All-Pac-10 honors, along with Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. He also started 5 of the United States’ U-20 National Team in the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup, starting all five of the team’s matches in the tournament and helping the team reach the quarterfinals. He notched 2 assists in the game vs. Poland below!
He also has made 1 appearance for the US senior team in a friendly against Sweden.
While Zizzo started out his career as a winger at UCLA and has played there for other clubs, I would expect him to play fullback as that is a position where we need depth. That being said, with the loss of Jacob Peterson, Zizzo could be a backup for both positions and play either when needed.
It is unclear, as of right now, whether Zizzo will join the squad in their training camp in Florida. I do expect him to be in the squad vs. Nashville on February 10th.