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Caleb Wiley, Jay Fortune on “growing confidence” and collecting a road win against New York City FC

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After a dominant 3-0 home win against Chicago Fire FC, Atlanta United are preparing to go up to New York for their next match. On Saturday, April 6, the 5-Stripes will take on New York City FC at Citi Field. The team is looking for their first win on the road for the 2024 season.

While speaking with local media on Tuesday, homegrown Caleb Wiley and midfielder Jay Fortune discussed the win on Sunday, what the team needs to do get three points on the road and what international play has taught them.

Caleb Wiley

Atlanta’s three wins have all come at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. For Caleb Wiley, consistency will be key for the 5-Stripes to get the win they want.

“We are full of confidence right now,” said Wiley to local media. “Jamal (Thiaré) scoring two goals on his birthday; I am sure he is full of confidence. So, I think we are going to go there and have the same mindset we have had for every game. We are going for three points.”

Despite only being 19, Wiley has made a name for himself; not only working his way up the ranks in the Atlanta United system but also on a national stage. He was one of the six Atlanta United players called up during the March FIFA international window. As well as one of the 11 MLS players called up for the Olympics camp.

The experience was an enlightening one for Wiley. The skills and lessons he learned while working with the United States men’s U-23 team are ones he looks to put towards his play here in Atlanta.

“It was an awesome experience playing against Guinea and France,” said Wiley. “That group of guys that I was there with are amazing guys. When I am around that type of quality, I think it only makes me better. I can come back here with lots of confidence.”

Jay Fortune

Wiley is not the only player that took valuable learning experiences from playing for his national team. Jay Fortune was called up by Trinidad and Tobago for the match against Canada for them to qualify for the 2024 Copa America. Fortune logged 80 minutes of playing time in the 2-0 loss to Canada.

“Obviously, it helps a great amount when you are away on the international level,” said Fortune. “You are playing against guys who play in different spaces. It requires a different level of speed. When you come back and play with the guys here, you take what you learned there and try to apply it.”

On Sunday against Chicago, Fortune came into the game while Atlanta United had a one goal lead. He expressed that everyone knowing what their role is makes an easier transition for the midgame substitutions. Much of that ease comes from the practices; the 5-Stripes want to take that positive mindset on the road.

“One of the main takeaways is how we do on the road,” said Fortune when asked about what the five games played means for the club so far. “Last year, we aimed for a top four position (in the Eastern Conference), and we didn’t get it. Looking back on it, I am sure there were different reasons behind it. But for me, the biggest takeaway was our performances on the road. We want to be a team that wins at home and away. Five games in and we still know we have another level.”

Atlanta United look to reach that next level against New York on Saturday.

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