Atlanta United and Charleston Battery played to a 0-0 draw Saturday night at MUSC Health Stadium in the team’s final preseason match. Atlanta posted its first clean sheet of the preseason and finished the match with a 9-3 advantage in shots over the tournament hosts.
“We’re trying to be in the best form possible to start the season, both in terms of fitness and technique,” Atlanta United Head Coach Tata Martino said. “I think these games here have served us well. Players had the chance to play 90 minutes and we did it with very competitive teams. I think we’re going to start the season in good form even though we have a few things to adjust this week.”
Atlanta’s starting lineup included 10 players who were making their first start of the preseason, including Alec Kann in goal. Atlanta controlled much of the possession in the first half and out-shot Charleston 3-1. The team’s lone shot on goal came in the 41st minute when a nice build-up led to a cross by José Hernández on the left wing. Tito Villalba directed the cross back towards the penalty spot where Andrew Carleton’s headed attempt was saved by a diving Odisnel Cooper.
Atlanta continued to test the Charleston defense early in the second half. In the 51st minute, Villalba swung in a cross from the right wing but Brandon Vazquez’s header sailed over the crossbar. Then, in the 66th minute, Carleton split the Battery defense with a diagonal ball and found Jon Gallagher streaking on goal. The rookie’s shot was saved by a charging Cooper. Neither team could find a winner and the match ended in a scoreless draw.
Atlanta begins the MLS regular season on the road in Houston Saturday, March 3 at 3:30 p.m. EST before the team’s home opener at Mercedes Benz-Stadium against D.C. United on Sunday, March 11 at 3 p.m. EST.