Caleb Wiley breaks out! Rising USMNT prospect involved in three goals for Atlanta United against Charlotte FC at just 18 years old
- Wiley scores two and assists one for Atlanta
- Teenager tripled career goal tally
- World Cup winner Almada assists opener
WHAT HAPPENED? Wiley opened the scoring for Atlanta just four minutes in, finishing off a lovely assist from Argentinian international Thiago Almada to give Atlanta the early lead. He then set up Luis Araujo for the second before scoring the third, a simple back-post finish, in first-half stoppage time.
18-year-old Caleb Wiley puts @ATLUTD up EARLY. pic.twitter.com/dYxog4O4jl— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 11, 2023
CALEB WILEY AGAIN— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 11, 2023
The 18-year-old has 2 goals + 1 assist in the first half. 📈 pic.twitter.com/alsxnrQNud
WHAT WAS SAID: When asked about his big day, Wiley said: "I kind of got that feeling actually before the game. I don't know what it was, but I got a little feeling of it, but then after the second goal, I kind of thought that 'Right, today is a good day."
Atlanta United boss Gonzalo Pineda was quick to praise Wiley, but also pointed out that the teeanger is just one of several attacking stars that he has in his team that can steal the show on any given night. "I'm very happy for the kid, because he's one that we believe in and we're very high on him," Pineda said. "We think he's going to be a great, great player and these types of performances, I hope, give him a little bit of an extra boost in his career where he starts to believe even more himself, same as a whole club does."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Saturday's effort was far and away the best performance of Wiley's young career. The teenager broke through in 2022, appearing 26 times with 18 starts while scoring one goal and assisting two more. Internationally, Wiley figures to be a member of the U.S. Under-20s this cycle.
The Atlanta homegrown can play anywhere on the left-hand side, having previously played at left-back while starting on the wing against Charlotte on Saturday.
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WHAT NEXT FOR ATLANTA? Following Saturday's match at Bank of America Stadium, Atlanta will return home to face the Portland Timbers in their next match.