Martino's Atlanta return confirmed with Mexico playing June 5 friendly at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

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The former Five Stripes manager will be back at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, coaching El Tri in a Gold Cup tune-up

Fans in Atlanta won't have to wait long to see one of their favorite figures on the touchline again. Former Atlanta United manager Tata Martino will be back in The Big Peach for a friendly match with Mexico on June 5.

Martino was announced as the new manager of the Mexico national team on Monday, leaving Atlanta United after two seasons with the MLS team that started play in 2017.

The former Argentina and Barcelona manager was a hit at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, with fans unveiling a tifo paying tribute to the manager ahead of the first playoff match. It depicted Martino as a statue with his trademark sweater slung over his back and said, in Spanish, "Not all heroes wear capes, but ours does."

He departed from Atlanta after two seasons, winning the MLS Cup in December in his final game with the team. While Martino said he already planned to return to Atlanta as a fan, Wednesday's announcement by the Mexican federation and Soccer United Marketing puts a date on the homecoming.

The opponent and time of the match is yet to be announced, but the match in Atlanta will be part of the team's Gold Cup preparation. 

El Tri's calendar for 2019 is beginning to come together, with the team not taking part in a January friendly this year but now with a pair of matches scheduled both for March's FIFA window and ahead of the summer's Gold Cup.

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Martino debuts as Mexico manager in a March 22 match against Chile in San Diego, California. Four days later, Mexico will face former manager Juan Carlos Osorio and Paraguay in Santa Clara, California. Those contests against South American opponents are the only games Martino will have to see his new players in action before putting together his squad for the Gold Cup, Concacaf's continental championship.

Ahead of that tournament there will be the match announced today in Atlanta and a June 9 game in AT&T Stadium in North Texas. From there, Mexico will contest the Gold Cup and return to play in the September window with its first-ever Concacaf Nations League game.

 

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