Atlanta United 2023 México Preseason

Live from Mexico City: The best weeks start on Monday 


After a day off on Sunday, and a visit to the pyramids at Teotihuacán, the team was back to work on Monday. The group returned to the Mexican National Team headquarters for a thorough training session in the morning.

One of the first things the group took care of was celebrating two special occasions. The team made a tunnel to celebrate birthdays for assistant coach Diego de la Torre, his birthday was February 5, and our talented videographer Edwin J. Hernandez, whose birthday is today.

The team warmed up with work on passing and touches weaving around tall poles. Fitness coach Jack Kimber encouraged the lads to dribble the ball with passion and make a clean first touch. 

Field players moved onto small-sided games. On the near side of the pitch, the four goalkeepers -- Brad GuzanQuentin WestbergClément Diop and 2s goalkeeper Sebastián Guerra -- got in some work. They played competitive games resembling volleyball where they had to tap the ball with their hands. Then, they challenged each other to a 2v2 competition, similar to what the field players were doing on the other side of the field, moving the ball over a net in teams.


After lunch, head coach Gonzalo Pineda and midfielder Matheus Rossetto met with the media. Both were able to share a little more on the friendly against Atlante over the weekend, a game in which Rossetto scored.

"I think we started the game well," Rossetto said. "For me, speaking individually, it's difficult playing at that altitude because I haven't played at this level before. So, at times it was hard to catch my breath. But I think we played free. We had a lot of talented players in the attack, in Thiago [Almada], Luiz [Araújo], Caleb [Wiley] and [Machop] Chol. So I think we did a good job. We're on the right path for it being one of the first preseason games."

Saturday's friendly was split into four 30-minutes periods, or two matches, with the starters playing the first two periods. The first match resulted in a 1-1 draw. Atlante FC scored early, then Atlanta United evened the match in the second 30.

Here's how Rossetto described his goal, which ended up being the equalizer and that he celebrated by catching his breath:

"The play started on the left with Thiago [Almada], and then he passed the ball to me in the center of the field. I had space in front of me, so I just continued to dribble and carry the ball forward. I had Caleb [Wiley] and [Machop] Chol ahead of me, but I just continued to dribble because the opportunity presented itself. And so, I had the chance to shoot and it went in."

Pineda went into more detail about the different tactics the team saw on Saturday. He put into context what kind of opponent the team faced in Atlante FC and said that he was proud of how the team adapted:

"We faced a very unorthodox game against Atlante. Atlante is a team that is a two-time champion in the second division, and they play a very unique style where they mark man-to-man all over on the field, similar to San Jose with [former head coach] Matías Almeyda. Then, on the ball they were doing very interesting tactics where they put everyone on the outside and they left empty, not one player in the middle, and then everyone was like in a big circle at times, which was an overload and it was hard for my center mids to know 'Who should I mark? I'm a center mid and there's no one here.' And I had two center mids. So, tactically it was a little bit of a surprise for the team... What I like is the response of the team because they started to figure it out, they start to solve problems on their own. We struggled the first 5-10 minutes to really get a little bit of momentum with the ball. But after that, I felt like we played really well."

The team returns to the Mexican National Team headquarters on Tuesday for the last day of training in Mexico City. Then, the second of Atlanta United's two preseason friendlies in México will be Wednesday, Feb. 8 against Cruz Azul. On Thursday, the team departs Mexico City and returns to Atlanta in the afternoon.

Follow along with daily updates from México at and ATLUTD on Twitter. For the full preseason schedule, click here.

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