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Caleb Wiley’s “great performance” extends Atlanta United’s unbeaten start


Atlanta United relied on Thiago Almada and Mattheus Rossetto to contribute goals through its opening two MLS matches this season, but Saturday was Caleb Wiley’s time to shine for the Five Stripes.

Wiley scored twice and assisted once in Atlanta United’s 3-0 road win over Charlotte FC at Bank of America Stadium. The 18-year-old was moved into a left wing role by head coach Gonzalo Pineda earlier this year, and Saturday’s performance provided a glimpse of his long-term potential as an attacking player.

“It was a great performance by Caleb in many different ways,” Pineda said. “I’m very happy for the kid because he’s one that..we think is going to be a great, great player, and these types of performances, I hope, gives him a little bit of extra boost in his career and he starts to believe even more in himself.”

Wiley made 26 appearances for the Five Stripes last season, scoring one goal and adding two assists as a defender. His pace and clinical shooting abilities were on display Saturday as he delivered the opening goal after only five minutes, roofing a shot past Pablo Sisniega.

After Wiley’s pass set up Luiz Araujo for a 2-0 Atlanta United lead in the 12th minute, Wiley’s presence in the attacking third helped cap a dominant first half before the interval. Araujo’s cross just before halftime found Wiley at the back post, allowing the homegrown player to tap home his second goal of the afternoon.

Wiley became the fourth-youngest player (18 years, 79 days) in MLS history to produce at least three goal contributions in one half of a match. His 70-minute performance earned him Man of the Match honors, and most importantly led the Five Stripes to a second victory out of the opening three this season.

Wiley’s goalscoring and playmaking abilities will certainly be needed if the Five Stripes want to be a real threat in the Eastern Conference this season. However, if he continues to be as impactful as he was on Saturday, Atlanta United’s attacking front will be tough to shut down in every competition it features in.

Atlanta United will return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on March 18 to face off with the Portland Timbers in a 2018 MLS Cup Finals rematch.


  1. Might have just found our Alphonso Davies type of player with Wiley.

    Some really impressive performances by a lot of MLS/ American young players this weekend. Starting to become a regular norm to see 16-22 year olds getting starts and substantial minutes week in and week out.

    • So proud of the kid! He’s gonna make a BIG LEAP this year if he can stay healthy and keep getting HIGH QUALITY reps in HIGH QUALITY matches!

      Vamos Atlanta! Five Stripes Forever!

    • While there are some similarities between the 2 it’s a little early to know what kind of player Wiley will actually become. Will he have the Davies work ethic and ability to absorb tactics? Or will he be a Freddy Adu type, who’s lazy and doesn’t want to work at his craft?


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