Matheus Rossetto's work to become attacking option pays off with first career MLS goal


Matheus Rossetto has said that he wants to score goals for Atlanta United, and on Saturday night his hard work paid off. The midfielder scored his first career MLS goal in the 60th minute, equalizing the match and saving a point for the home team.

The 26-year-old was aggressive in the attack all night for Atlanta. Not only did Rossetto score Atlanta United's lone goal, he also finished the match with 95% accuracy on his passes and three shots on goal. For his performance the Brazilian earned the club's Star of the Match honors and was voted by fans to receive the Golden Spike of Excellence.

“I feel good," Rossetto said. "Happy also. If we’d won the game, I’d feel better. I’ve been working hard to score."

On the play, midfielder Derrick Etienne Jr. found Thiago Almada near the penalty spot. The Argentine took a touch, then played the ball back to space for Rossetto. The midfielder ran in determined and cracked a shot on his first touch from distance. It received a deflection to confuse Toronto FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson, then sailed into the net to even the match 1-1.

The strike was from a similar distance as Rossetto's goal in the preseason match last month against Atlante FC in Mexico City. In the friendly, Rossetto was also the lone goal scorer in the first half, finding the equalizer to put his team on the board.

"I’ve been working on attacking for a long time and last year I was trying but was farther back on the field," he said. "I’ve talked with Gonzalo [Pineda] about being a little higher, that playing higher I can score more goals and give more assists also.”

Head coach Gonzalo Pineda said the combination of Rossetto and Almada, along with Franco Ibarra, was especially important to match up with Toronto's strong midfield. The trio's commitment to the press and regain balls in that area was exactly what the coach was looking for, and the grouping helped Atlanta United possess 67 percent of the match and outshoot the opponent 16-4.

"Happy with his goal, for sure," Pineda said. "I'm more happy with his willingness to press in those areas and dominate, along with [Franco] Ibarra, that part of the field. I think it was impressive."

As for Rossetto, he says he's not done scoring goals. He has his target set on 5-10 goals this season and wants to add on some assists as well. Including Rossetto in a group with Almada, Luiz Araújo and Giorgos Giakoumakis, suddenly Atlanta United has several good attacking options.

"I feel that all the players are feeling good now, starting to press a little higher and it’s going well," Rossetto said. "And we’re working on that in training also and we’re going to continue that way. Now with the arrival of Giakoumakis also, we can work a little more, press a little more."

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