Atlanta United's first preseason test concludes with 3-3 draw in Chattanooga 


Atlanta United faced its first test of the preseason on Saturday with a friendly against Chattanooga FC at Finley Stadium. The 5-Stripes scored three first-half goals, including a brace from Luiz Araújo, and concluded their first 2023 friendly tied 3-3. The team got a full 45 minutes from goalkeeper Brad Guzan and center back Miles Robinson, marking their first on-pitch action since sustaining season-ending injuries in 2022.

Atlanta United Starting XI

Brad Guzan (C), Santiago Sosa, Luiz Araújo, Brooks Lennon, Miles Robinson, Franco Ibarra, Andrew Gutman, Matheus Rossetto, Juanjo Purata, Machop Chol, Jackson Conway

First half - Luiz Araújo gets a brace, each side scores three goals

The home side was the first to score after goalkeeper Brad Guzan mishandled a ball near the end line. In the seventh minute, forward Markus Naglestad, the NISA Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner in 2022, was waiting centrally inside the box and tapped it in.

However, Chattanooga FC's lead didn't last long. Fullback Andrew Gutman drew a foul inside the box and Atlanta United was awarded a penalty kick. Luiz Araújo slotted the PK into the right corner to even the match 1-1 in the 12th minute.

Atlanta United got its first lead in the 20th minute. A defensive collapse on Chattanooga FC brought out goalkeeper Jean Antoine. Machop Chol was in the right place at the right time to control a deflected ball and score on an open net.

Naglestad found the back of the net again for his brace in the 28th minute. A Chattanooga FC attack created chaos inside the six-yard box and the Atlanta United defense was unable to make a clearance. Naglestad collected the ball and scored to equalize the match at 2-2.

The visitors retook the lead in the 42nd minute. Another defensive mistake along the backline for Chattanooga FC created an opportunity for Araújo. The Brazilian took away the ball deep in Chattanooga's territory and scored to get his own brace on the day.

But just two minutes later, Chattanooga FC equalized. English midfielder Alex McGrath created a moment of magic on an assist from Damian Rodriguez and put away a shot from close range to tie the match at 3-3.

Second half - New XI consists of several Atlanta United 2 players and future first team prospects

Atlanta United head coach Gonzalo Pineda sent on a new group for the second half: Goalkeeper Quentin Westberg, Ronald Hernández (C), Noah Cobb, Aiden McFadden, Alan Carleton, Nick Firmino, Luke Brennan, Tyler Young, David Mejía, Kofi Twumasi, Daniel Sebhatu.

This second half roster gave some promising young stars in Atlanta United's system a chance at playing time. Noah Cobb, the 17-year-old Homegrown, was all over the backline, covering ground at center back. Atlanta United's 2023 MLS SuperDraft selection and the Big South Player of the Year, Tyler Young, had several good looks on goal, including a near miss on a cross from Luke Brennan that required a save from Chattanooga's goalkeeper. Aiden McFadden, who made 11 appearances with the first team last season, set up a clean give-and-go with David Mejía that led to a rapid counterattack for Atlanta United in the match's final minutes.

Without any goals in the second 45, the first half score ended up being the final and the friendly resulted in a 3-3 tie.

Up next in Atlanta United's preseason

After this weekend, Atlanta United begins the next leg of its preseason with a 10-day trip to Mexico City. We'll have feet on the ground in Mexico, so bookmark for daily updates and follow our social accounts for the latest coverage.

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