It took no time for Atlanta United’s new goalkeeper to adhere himself to his new fans.
Brad Guzan was superb in his debut shutout performance on the road against Orlando City. After nearly a decade away from MLS playing in Europe, Brad was quick to deflect attention away from his memorable return and back toward his team.
“More important than coming back into the league, it was important to go on the road and find a way to get a result,” Guzan told reporters after the game. “Road wins for us haven't been the easiest to come by. So for us to come to a place like Orlando where we know they're a good team and take all three points is a good feeling.
While Brad isn’t one to brag, his stats speak for themselves: five saves – including a nominee for MLS Save of the Week – a clean sheet, and a co-Man of the Match award. He’s pointed to his familiarity with the back line – he’s played with Parkurst and Garza before, and spoke often with Leandro González Pirez and Walkes leading up to the match – as a key part of his transition.
“The thing about all these guys, not just our back line, all these guys are football players,” Guzan said. “They’re good with their brain and ideas, they understand the game. When you have guys that put that together with the quality they have at their feet, then it’s easy.”
Captain Michael Parkhurst said the team’s third clean sheet in four matches is the standard they hold themselves to, and is just the defenders being game-changers just like the players up front.
“Whether that’s our offensive guys picking balls off, Jeff [Larentowicz] or Carlos [Carmona], or in the back line with Brad making big saves,” Parkhurst said. “Everyone is just chipping in doing their part and making the plays that they need to.”
Guzan said getting a road win is a big result for the team, but was quick to keep the win in perspective. And with another match against Orlando right around the corner, he was looking forward to playing his first game in front of the Five Stripe faithful back in home territory.
“To come and get three points against a good team is big for us, but it’s a quick turnaround and we’ve got them again in seven days,” Guzan said. “We know there’s a lot at stake next week, but the thing we have going for us is we’re going back to Bobby Dodd Stadium. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a witness to that environment and that atmosphere. So I’m looking forward to being on the pitch and being right in the middle of it, because I think they can play a big part for us next week and we’ll be looking for them to do that.”
The team is back at work getting ready for the rematch against Orlando City on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on FOX. Tickets are sold out, but if you want to witness Atlanta United’s last ever match at Bobby Dodd Stadium, click here for Ticketmaster Verified Resale tickets.