Two of Atlanta United’s promising young talents were in the national spotlight Tuesday night. Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin both represented Major League Soccer against Chivas U-20’s in the annual MLS Homegrown Game, presented by Energizer.
Carleton was one of the eleven players selected to start, and at 17 years old was the youngest player on the pitch. But that didn’t deter the newly-crowned USSDA National Champion. Carleton showed confidence and ability with every touch, setting up an open shot in the box in the first ten minutes. Then later in the half, he showed all of his ability, dribbling free of his marker, showing great vision to play the killer through ball to the striker, and then following up the rebound with a shot that look destined for the far corner – only to be cleared off the line by a miraculous save from a Chivas defender.
The Powder Springs native wasn’t done there, playing a complete performance with incisive passing and good defensive workrate. And came close again to getting on the scoresheet early in the second half, connecting on a sweet volley that looked to be swerving into to the corner, only to be deflected away by his teammate.
Carleton subbed out in the 61st minute, but the red, black and gold was still represented on the pitch as Atlanta United’s Chris Goslin – another 17-year-old facing the U-20’s – subbed on in his place. Usually a midfielder, Goslin showed his value in versatility filling in an unfamiliar wingback role in front of Head Coach Brian McBride’s back line. His solid 30-minute performance was capped off by an assist in stoppage team, a dangerous ball headed in by Kortne Ford to equalize with the final play of the match.
"It was a fun night, felt like I was a little unlucky to not get a goal and we probably should've got the win," Carleton told ATLUTD.com after the game. "But it was a great experience to be out here with some of the guys, a great group. But just to be able to represent Atlanta and MLS well in our first season was great, and we're excited to get back to Atlanta and get back to work."
"It's been really great," Goslin said. "It's a little surreal, seeing guys you emulate growing up like (DaMarcus) Beasley, (Michael) Bradley and (David) Villa. It kind of gets us ready to hopefully one day be in the MLS All-Star Game ourselves one day, and we can kind of get a feel for it. So it's been really good."
Atlanta United talent will continue to be on full display when the senior team takes the field on Wednesday. Miguel Almirón, Greg Garza and Michael Parkhurst will face Champions League title-holders Real Madrid in the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. EST.