Training Booklet: Shelter from the Storm

Another element of this backline was the addition of Juanjo Purata, Mexico’s centre-back on loan from the Tigres. Purata was available to speak to the media for the first time since scoring against Orlando City SC. His first career goal came at the right time, leveling an intense game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium during Heineken Rivalry Week.

For the goal, Purata was also named in the MLS Team of the Week. It is the first time he has received league honors and the second time in as many weeks that an Atlanta United player has been recognized by MLS.

After the game against Orlando City SC, head coach Gonzalo Pineda remarked on how quickly Purata had adapted to MLS play. Since joining the club in the secondary transfer window, Purata has made appearances in all three MLS matches he was available for. He was in the starting XI for both games against Real Salt Lake and Orlando City SC.

Purata himself attributes the quick transition to the good fit he found in Atlanta and says he acclimated well to the club.

“I like the team’s style of play, and I think the style suits me,” he said. “So on the pitch, things are going well. And off the field it’s going well too, just trying to get to know my teammates. So I would say the adaptation is going well.

With a 2-1 home win over Real Salt Lake followed by a draw against Orlando City, Atlanta United capped a three-game homestand on a high note with four earned points. After the Orlando City match, Pineda said “the team is back”, indicating the fight and passion the team showed for each other on the field.

Now Atlanta United has a chance to bring their passion to life on the road. The club are enduring one of their longest road trips of the season to meet LA Galaxy on Sunday (and one of their last with a 9:30pm ET kick-off). Then the club ends the month hoping to steal points from a Chicago Fire FC side they beat 4-1 earlier in the season.

With just six home games remaining, the team knows the importance of that away streak as they push to climb above the playoff line. And two team performances could serve as a springboard to create consistency in the second half of 2022.

“It shows that we are improving, but I think we have to constantly show that we are back,” defender George Campbell said. “It starts the last game, it starts the next game, and it has to be every game that we put in that kind of effort.”


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Richard V. Johnson