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Atlanta United academy players move on to CONCACAF semifinals

Two Atlanta United prospects have stepped into the red, white and blue for the month, and they’re turning heads as they represent their country proudly. Defender George Bello and forward Danny Mangarov are competing at the U15 CONCACAF Championships with the U.S. Youth National team, helping their squad to three wins out of three in their group stage matches.

George Bello has started all three games, recording an assist in the United States’ 2-0 win over Canada in the opening match and winning a penalty in the 6-0 performance against Trinidad & Tobago. Bello is coming off his best year yet, winning Eastern Conference Player of the Year for his age group and earning an MLS Homegrown contract with the senior team which will be active starting in January. His shutdown defense and trademark runs forward were a staple of his game at the club level, and it’s translating to the national team as well.

Meanwhile Danny Mangarov is fighting his way into the team with impressive performances from an impact substitute role. A tricky and explosive wide player, he’s brought energy off the bench and created countless chances for his teammates. He has also shown his ability from dead ball situations, sending in a tricky cross from a free kick that a Costa Rican defender could only steer into his own net in Wednesday’s 4-1 win for the USA.

In all, the squad has gone 3-0 so far against their North American counterparts, with a dominant twelve goals scored to only one allowed. Now their attention turns to their semifinal match against Panama Thursday. If they win, they’ll face the winner of the other semifinal between Canada & Mexico in the tournament final for a chance to lift the trophy.

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