Team of the Matchday

Caleb Wiley awarded place on MLS Team of the Matchday for long-range golazo

TOTM 16x9-Caleb-Wiley

Caleb Wiley certainly showed out for his first goal of the season.

The fullback scored the second goal in Atlanta United's 2-2 draw with Philadelphia Union. The strike landed the Atlanta United Homegrown on the MLS Team of the Matchday, the league announced Monday afternoon. It's the first time this season Wiley's been named to the league's weekly list of best performances and second all-time in the 19-year-old's career.

The goal arrived in the 63rd minute of Sunday's match. With a one-goal lead, Atlanta United was working the ball in their attacking third. Midfielder Edwin Mosquera dribbled toward the box, drawing the attention of a few Philadelphia defenders, and made a pass behind him to Wiley, who was moving into the attack from his fullback position.

And Wiley did the rest. The 19-year-old charged ahead with one dribble into space then blasted a rocket from about 30 yards out with his left foot. The shot took one bounce then went flying into the back of the net.

The golazo sent Mercedes-Benz Stadium into an uproar for their hometown hero.

"I saw the chance to take my shot, take the opportunity to hit it. And it went in the back of the net which was a nice feeling," Wiley said.

In the locker room after the match Wiley told reporters he's "not used to scoring those" kind of long-range shots. But the fullback, who broke the record for most starts by an Atlanta United Homegrown earlier this year, has scored before in his career. The finish Sunday was no. 6 for Wiley in MLS. He opened his scoring account in memorable fashion during his debut in a 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City in 2022 and added four goals in 2023.

Wiley started Sunday's match and went a full 90 minutes. For his effort and incredible strike, Wiley was received the Golden Spike of Excellence. After the match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the fullback hammered home the honor in front of Atlanta's loud and rowdy supporters.

"Today is a reward for a kid who has been very disciplined in what we ask for, so I am very happy for him," head coach Gonzalo Pineda said after the match.

This is the fourth week in 2024 that Atlanta United has had a representative on MLS Team of the Matchday, and this marks the first time it's been a player other than a striker. Giorgos Giakoumakis has appeared twice and Jamal Thiaré held the honor after his birthday brace.

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