ATLANTA — Eric Remedi is in Atlanta and is training with the Five Stripes.
The newly-signed Argentine defensive midfielder could be available for selection Saturday, when Atlanta United FC hosts D.C. United. On Tuesday, he was introduced to the public at the club’s training grounds in Marietta in a press conference with technical director Carlos Bocanegra.
“He has a good feel for the game where he takes up his starting position to read the game very well. And then he hunts the ball and like he said he likes to recover it,” Bocanegra said.
Remedi, 23, landed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport early last Friday morning and was greeted by a small cluster of Atlanta United fans on his way to baggage claim. The fans threw scarfs around his neck as he shaked hands and posed for photos.
“I didn’t expect (to see fans) at the airport, but it was something wonderful,” Remedi said through a translator Tuesday. “It was great to see.”
Remedi walked into Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday with his new teammates before they drew 1-1 with the Seattle Sounders.
“I think the football (in MLS) is a little more direct, so I’m just trying to get adjusted as fast as I can,” Remedi said. “I’m not used to VAR yet… I think sometimes it helps you, sometimes it hurts you and it seems like it can also slow the game down at times.”
He will wear No. 11 with the Five Stripes, a uniform last worn by fellow Argentine Yamil Asad, who now plays for D.C. United.
— Eric ! (@Eric_Remedi) July 18, 2018
To create space for Remedi, who comes to the club on a transfer from Argentina side Banfield, the team helped Josef Martinez acquire a U.S. Green Card, which freed up an international roster spot, and loaned defender Jose Hernandez to its USL affiliate, ATL UTD 2, for the rest of the 2018 season.
Bocanegra said he expects Remedi to compete “directly” for playing time in the midfield. He also described Remedi as a “hunter” and a “worker,” which matches up with his reputation for being a tough player.
Despite standing just 5-foot-6, Remedi is seen as an enforcer in the defensive midfield, a player who doesn’t shy away from chippy play or dirty work. Highlight videos scattered across social media have shown his ability to connect on long passes too.
“I’m going to try and help in the middle of the field,” Remedi said. “I think I’m a good defender, I try to be very organized, recover the ball in the midfield, and then my job is to recover the ball and give it to our attacking players.”
Since the club sold Carlos Carmona to a club in his native Chile in the offseason, manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino has expressed interest in signing another defensive midfielder. Earlier in the year, the club was linked to Cameroonian midfielder Stephane Mbia and even hosted him at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“We didn’t want to rush in to bring someone in just to bring someone in,” Bocanegra said. “We wanted the right player to come in to make sure he’s competitive, that fits our needs, that he fits the player profile we were looking for.”
Remedi has only been with the Five Stripes for a few days, but he seems to be settling in quickly. There are several other Spanish-speaking players on the team who have helped him get acclimated to a new club, a new league and a new country.
He’ll share the field with fellow Argentines Hector “Tito” Villalba, Leandro González-Pirez, Ezequiel Barco and Franco Escobar. Miguel Almiron, who is from Paraguay, played for Banfield’s rival Lanus for a season, so he and Remedi have crossed paths before.
“As time goes on, this league has become even more popular in Argentina,” Remedi said. “This is a league Argentines want to come to. They want to come play in MLS.”
Remedi joins the Five Stripes at a time where they lead the league in the race for the Supporters Shield with 41 points. It’s unclear when he’ll see the field and how he’ll fit into Martino’s lineup, but he could give Atlanta a boost in its pursuit of a championship.
“We’re pleased we can bring another reinforcement into the group to make a push for the second half of the season and into the playoffs,” Bocanegra said. “While we’re happy with where we are right now, we still know that our best football is ahead of us.”
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) July 18, 2018