Gonzalo Pineda hails 'tremendous' Caleb Wiley despite second consecutive defeat

  • Wiley opened the scoring against Orlando City
  • Defended well against the dangerous Facundo Torres
  • Pineda continues to stress the need for defense to improve

Wiley shined in Atlanta's loss to Orlando City
Wiley shined in Atlanta's loss to Orlando City / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United boss Gonzalo Pineda had plenty of praise for the young Caleb Wiley as he scored his fourth goal of the season in their 2-1 loss to Orlando City.

The Five Stripes started the game well with a deserved goal from Wiley, who continues to show his worth and versatility to Atlanta at just 18 years old. The homegrown Atlanta native can play at left-back, left wing-back and left-wing, with six goal involvements in 20 appearances this season.

"Yes, for Caleb it’s [the goal] amazing," Pineda said post-game. "I think it was a good play overall. I think those were the moments where we were probably putting a little bit of pressure and then I think Caleb with his speed, his power and decision, he is going to get a lot of those. So, I am happy for him, he did a tremendous game."

Wiley was tasked with defending against one of the league's best wingers, Facundo Torres, and excelled, making several key tackles and interceptions near his own box.

"I think he had not just the goal but had a very, very good game," Pineda added. "So happy for him. Unfortunately, we couldn’t, again, capitalize that advantage and then use it in our favor and from there trying to score the second one with some momentum, then the game should have been a little bit easier."

Now, Pineda will happily welcome Miles Robinson back to the squad as they prepare for their Leagues Cup campaign and the remainder of the MLS campaign. Robinson was with the USMNT for the Nations League and Gold Cup competitions, and Atlanta will need all the help they can get as they've conceded 39 goals in 2023.

"...We were missing for a long time Miles Robinson, one of the best defenders in this league," said Pineda. "We need to get him back with us. Take a little bit of a break, because it was tough to be that long with the national team. He’s missed a lot of games, so he needs to reintegrate."

"A couple of the new signings, we of course are hoping that Tristan [Muyumba] can soon be available with his visa and be integrated into the system. If there are any more new signings coming soon, I hope we can integrate them soon enough as well."

Atlanta has a bit of a break for the time being, and their next game is on July 25 against Inter Miami and Lionel Messi in the Leagues Cup tournament at DRV PINK Stadium.

"We want to have a good Leagues Cup and from there in late August start the last 10 matches of the season and ramp it up to compete for a top-four spot. That’s the objective. We have to work a lot, but there are little details that we are missing currently, but we are working and I hope with the new personnel we can improve."

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