Atlanta United returned to their winning ways in preseason, with five goals traded during a 3-2 victory over USL Championship side Birmingham Legion FC on Saturday evening at BBVA Field.
Matheus Rossetto, the club’s newly-signed Brazilian midfielder, supplied the game-winner in the second minute of second-half stoppage time. However, the result was overshadowed by a serious injury suffered by Homegrown left back George Bello.
Bello went down hard in the 69th minute after colliding with a Birmingham player while defending a free kick, and was stretchered off in the 77th minute with his head and neck stabilized. Updates on the 18-year-old’s physical condition weren’t immediately available.
Before the injury scare, Atlanta opened the scoring in the 44th minute via Ezequiel Barco. He connected with fellow Argentine attacker Pity Martinez, and calmly slotted into the far-side netting with his right foot.
The clubs then traded penalty kicks, starting with Birmingham's in the 48th minute. Neco Brett slotted home from the spot to make it 1-1, only for recently-signed forward Adam Jahn to restore Atlanta’s lead in the 67th minute after academy player Tyler Wolff drew a foul.
Birmingham equalized in the 80th minute via forward Rudolf Mensah, who capitalized on a breakaway after being played through by former New England Revolution midfielder Daigo Kobayashi. With the teams seemingly destined for a draw, Rossetto collected a Mo Adams through ball late and supplied the finishing touch for the 3-2 win.
Looking ahead, the Five Stripes close out their preseason Tuesday in Mexico when facing second-division side Leones Negros. That’ll help them prepare for their Concacaf Champions League opener Feb. 18 against Club Leon. Through four preseason matches, Frank de Boer’s team remains undefeated.
- 44’ – ATL – Ezequiel Barco
- 48’ – BHM – Neco Brett (PK)
- 67’ – ATL – Adam Jahn (PK)
- 80’ – BHM – Rudolf Mensah
- 90+2’ – ATL – Matheus Rossetto
Atlanta first-half starting XI: Alec Kann; Franco Escobar, Miles Robinson, George Campbell; Brooks Lennon, Jeff Larentowicz, Emerson Hyndman, Anton Walkes; Ezequiel Barco, Josef Martinez, Pity Martinez