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Atlanta United name Gonzalo Pineda head coach

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Atlanta United named Gonzalo Pineda as their new head coach on Thursday.

Formerly an assistant with the Seattle Sounders, the 38-year-old Pineda signed with Atlanta through 2024.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Gonzalo as the head coach of Atlanta United,” club president Darren Eales said in a release. “Building off an illustrious international playing career, Gonzalo joined Seattle’s coaching staff and played an integral role in the club’s success over the last few years. He has a thorough understanding of MLS and has proven to be one of the top assistants in the league. He is a great fit for our club from a cultural and technical perspective, and we’re excited to have a long-term commitment in place.”

Pineda was in his fifth season as an assistant to Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer. He helped guide the Sounders to three MLS Cup appearances, winning it all in 2019 and finishing runner-up in 2017 and 2020.

“This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime and I’m really excited to become Atlanta United’s head coach,” Pineda said in a release. “I’m arriving to a club that already has a system in place to help the players and coaching staff deliver good results for the supporters. I’m looking forward to arriving in Atlanta and meeting with everyone at the club.”

Assistant coach Rob Valentino has served as Atlanta United’s interim coach since the club fired first-year coach Gabriel Heinze on July 18 following a disappointing 2-4-7 start to the 2021 MLS regular season.

Valentino will be retained on Pineda’s staff, as will goalkeeping coach Liam Curran. Diego de La Torre joins the club as a new assistant coach.

During the transition period, Valentino will continue in his role as interim coach for the next two games: Sunday vs. Los Angeles FC and Wednesday vs. Toronto FC. Pineda’s coaching debut will be Aug. 21 against DC United.

A Mexico City native and former Mexico national team midfielder, Pineda spent most of his playing career in Liga MX with Pumas (2003-05) and Chivas Guadalajara (2006-13). He also tallied four goals and nine assists in 56 games with the Sounders from 2014-15.

Atlanta currently sits in 10th place in the MLS Eastern Conference with 18 points through 18 games. The club is six points out of the seventh and final playoff spot.

–Field Level Media

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