Ronald Hernández, Jamal Thiaré discuss "good opportunity" for young players ahead in Toronto

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Coming off a 2-0 win over Orlando City SC, the 5-Stripes look ahead towards the next match. On Saturday, March 23, the club will take on Toronto FC at BMO Field. Six Atlanta United players were called up for the FIFA international window, so the lineup Saturday will be different from the previous two matches. Thiago Almada, Ajani Fortune, Giorgos Giakoumakis, Bartosz Slisz, and Caleb Wiley will all be away representing their respective countries.

Fullback Ronald Hernández and striker Jamal Thiaré spoke to local media on Tuesday about how the team wants to carry forward the momentum from back-to-back home wins and certain players getting new opportunities.

Ronald Hernández

Ronald Hernández has been with Atlanta United since the club exercised the option to sign him in 2022, but before then, he played with the team on loan in 2021. The Venezuelan defender is a veteran voice for the squad, especially for the younger players. He believes the game against Toronto will be a good chance for other players to show growth.

“This is a good opportunity for them, and for all of us,” said Hernández when asked about how the remaining players would approach Saturday’s match. “We know we are going to miss them because they are important. But this is fútbol. This is an opportunity for the new guys to show up.”


Some players will see increased playing time, though the team is confident in their ability to continue the momentum and chemistry shown in the past two wins at home against New England Revolution and Orlando City SC. With the shuffling of the roster that came during preseason, the team was able to get a taste of different matchups that they can deploy against Toronto.

“If we look back to our preseason, what we did was really important. We were looking forward in preparation of this game,” said Hernández. “It is going to be a challenge, and a good game. We are preparing for it.”

Jamal Thiaré

After a promising preseason, forward Jamal Thiaré is feeling confident that he can help the team notch another victory. During an early February friendly against Memphis 901 FC, it was a late equalizer by Thiaré that got Atlanta United on the board. The low driven shot was just a fraction of what he can bring for the club.

Even with several players away, there is still an emphasis put on this being a team effort. The club is the sum of all of its parts. To achieve the goals the team wants to, it will take strong showings from whoever is put into the lineup.

“At the end of the day, everybody on the team is important,” said Thiaré. “The goal is to listen to the coach, maintain your position, and just keep it all together.”

As practices continue throughout the week, there will be a focus on all the positives seen through the second and third games of the season. A strong road record is an objective for Atlanta United this season. On Saturday, they look to getting a road win against Toronto.

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