Caleb Wiley sets record for most MLS appearances by an Atlanta United Homegrown


Head coach Gonzalo Pineda called his young playmakers "game changers" following the 4-1 win over CF Montréal on Saturday. And perhaps none of them change the game more than Homegrown Caleb Wiley.

The 18-year-old hit a new milestone Saturday in the club's playoff-sealing win. Wiley played in his 53rd MLS regular season match, which is the most appearances for an Atlanta United Homegrown.

Wiley is having his best year yet since signing a Homegrown deal with Atlanta United in January 2022. He's scored four goals this season and added four assists, both career highs. He's also been a consistent option for Pineda. Wiley has made the starting XI in 25 of the 27 matches he's appeared in this season, playing fullback and on the left wing at different points this season.

What could be overlooked is Wiley's defensive prowess. At left fullback especially, he's performed well in defensive moments. The Atlanta native ranks third on the team in tackles with 25 and is tied with veteran center back Miles Robinson in interceptions (24).

Wiley played a role in both of Atlanta's first-half goals Saturday. He sparked the attack by controlling a loose ball in Montréal's half that ignited a team goal scored by Xande Silva in the 30th minute. Just minutes later, Wiley brought the ball down the left flank and fed the ball to Silva again at the center of the pitch. Silva attacked the net and eventually found Almada to give Atlanta United a 2-0 lead in the 33rd minute.

During the postgame press conference when Pineda was asked about the young players, the head coach mentioned Wiley first and acknowledged the significance of this match for him.

"He set a new record," Pineda said. "Many more to come, so great for him."

It's been a noteworthy year for Homegrowns. With a late goal against Inter Miami CF, Tyler Wolff recently became the first Atlanta United Homegrown to score five goals in one season. Jay Fortune has been seeing playing time as well. The 20-year-old started the midweek match against D.C. United and played 72 minutes. Pineda said Fortune has been "fantastic at keeping possession of the ball" and sent him on as a substitute in the Montréal match to give starter Tristan Muyumba some rest.

"Young players, whoever enters the game... many positives out of those game-changers," Pineda said.

Best photos: Atlanta United's 4-1 win over CF Montréal
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