Atlanta United vs. Charleston Battery Friendly Recap

Atlanta United drew 0-0 today with Charleston Battery. 


Takeaways (Basically my notes while watching)


1st Half

  • Villalba and Escobar chemistry problems
  • Kratz isnt pressuring. Looks afraid to go into tackles
  • Carleton doing well on defensive side
  • Carleton almost starts the goal of the season

  • Poor finishing still remains (Open header for Williams not put on target)
  • Charleston pressed high early and Kann and Robinson almost got caught a few times
  • Touches overall have been very poor. Lots of lost possession from bad first touches.
  • Villalba has not looked great. Pretty rusty. Escobar, although playing the same amount of time, has played very well.
  • 2nd team isn’t pressing very well. Not very cohesive.
  • Silly turnovers continue
  • Carleton has played great tonight despite a position change. Still drifting out wide though.
  • Poor touches all around have prevented good shooting opportunities.
  • Poor shape by Atlanta
  • Kann is way too hesitant. Almost leads to a goal off a corner.
  • Too many open headers from corners
  • Wheeler-Omiunu playing very well. Getting back on defense.

  • Carleton and Escobar have shown great chemistry


2nd Half

  • Hernandez not playing well. Has been tested by high press.
  • After dispossessing Charleston, Atlanta United is giving the ball away cheaply.
  • Shannon placing passes very well
  • Neither Charleston nor Atlanta are cohesively pressing as a unit.
  • Carleton continues to impress with his passing
  • Lots of turnovers in the last 15-20 minutes. Most were silly turnovers.
  • Even Almiron and Carleton are having poor touches


Player of the Game

Andrew Carleton

When the lineup came out, I didn’t think he would be able to play the 10 very well and though Tata was just putting him out there in a random position in case someone got hurt. I wasn’t alone either.

I thought Carleton could play the 10 but I didn’t think he would play that well. Boy, was I wrong. Carleton impressed me in every facet of the game. He did very well to press and attempt to get the ball back in the midfield when his teammates would lose possession. He also did well with his dribbling and positioning during the game.


The most impressive part of his game tonight though was his passing. Not only did he have a great pass (Above video) to set up a wonderful chance but he had tons of normal passes that were impressive because of the vision. He had a couple of great give-and-gos with Escobar but had a few great no-look passes that led to shots. Another thing he did well was shooting. Although none went in, Carleton had 5 shots (3 on target) and all of them were good decisions instead of the usual ambitious shots by young players. The final thing that impressed me was his work rate. He was all over the pitch tonight and reminded me of Almiron. I legitimately believe that once Almiron inevitably leaves, Carleton will be the heir to the 10. I would love to see Carleton be one of the main choices off the bench this year.

Final Thoughts

There were a lot of questions about Atlanta United’s midfield depth as well as their back line and I think those two questions were pretty much put to rest tonight. Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu showed he can be a capable halfback both in the attack and defensively and Escobar has shown that losing Walkes won’t have as big of an effect on the back line as many thought it would.

Atlanta United had plenty of chances to pull out a win (11 shots, 6 on target) but couldn’t finish. After the game, Carleton talked about that.

Atlanta United finished the preseason going 1-2-1 while scoring and conceding 6. They finished 3rd in the Carolina Challenge Cup.

Overall, the game (minus scoring) went how I expected it to go. Charleston has shown their ability to hang with MLS teams and so it wasn’t surprising that they came out with a draw. While the preseason was underwhelming to some, I don’t think it could have gone much better as no players were injured and we didn’t have an embarrassing loss.


What’s Next?

Atlanta United travel to Houston to take on the Houston Dynamo in their first MLS regular season match on March 3rd at 3:30 ET.


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