You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Jones reels back the years for Atlanta United

Though he hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time this season, Kenwyne Jones in his first MLS start showed why he is an asset for Atlanta United in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Montreal.

The forward, built more like a safety, scored a goal, served as an outlet for passes with his back to the goal, threw himself into challenges and, generally, treated Impact players like blue and black bowling pins.

“I’m happy,” he said. “You have to be prepared to do the role necessary. Sometimes you get called in the beginning, sometimes you have to wait on your chance, sometimes you have to come in off the bench. When that time comes, you have to focus on working hard and you take whatever chance is available.”

In Jones’ 73 minutes, he had two shots, one on goal, was called offsides twice, was fouled once and suffered a foul.

“He played a very good game,” manager Gerardo Martino said. “I thought he put in really good effort, even in addition to the goal. I think the whole team played well with different styles of play (comparing first half to second half). The whole team put in a good effort.”

Asked why Jones hasn’t played more, Martino said his preferred formation requires just one striker. That has been Josef Martinez, who led the team with five goals before sustaining an injury that will keep him out at least through Saturday’s game at Real Salt Lake, and then Hector Villalba, who scored two goals.

Martino elected to start Jones against Montreal and shift Villalba back to his natural position as a right winger.

But Jones, because of his height (6-2) and strength, brings a different skill set than do the other two players.

“We can look to play more long balls to him,” Martino said. “He’s a completely different forward than what Josef (Martinez) brings. Kenwyne is really physical. He’s great at holding the ball up and also good in the air.”

Atlanta United fans have wanted to see more of Jones, a native of Trinidad and Tobago. The 32-year-old was among the first players signed by the MLS expansion club. He consistently interacted with the team’s supporters on social media. Plus, his experience with more than 80 goals in England’s Premier League and Championship with various clubs, combined with the physical style of play that characterizes MLS, seemed a natural fit.

And then Martino was hired. It was going to be interesting to see how Jones fit within Martino’s preferred formation (4-3-3) and style of play (control possession, high pressure).

Jones started the first two preseason games and seemed solid as he worked his way into shape after not playing much in 2016. He didn’t score in the preseason games, but he ran the channels between defenders and offered a passing outlet to midfielders.

Perhaps preferring speed over size, Martino started Martinez as the lone striker in the inaugural game against New York Red Bulls. Jones came off the bench and played five minutes, which was typical in the next four games before Saturday’s start.

On Jones’ goal, Carlos Carmona intercepted a pass and fed it to Hector Villalba. Jones immediately ran into space between the defenders. Villalba found Jones, who one-timed a right-footed shot into the right corner in the 40th minute. He punctuated the moment with his customary goal celebration of an acrobatic backflip.

“I’ve been doing that for some years now,” he said. “Of course, it’s a special moment to score your first goal so it meant a lot. I felt like reeling in the years a little bit.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Hawks trade Kelly to Rockets for cash
Hawks trade Kelly to Rockets for cash

The Hawks traded forward Ryan Kelly to the Rockets for cash considerations on Wednesday. The deal was first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Kelly did two stints with the Hawks last season. He has a non-guaranteed contract for $1.6 million next season. If the Rockets release Kelly before June 30, it’s possible he could be back with...
Falcons offensive line ranked sixth-best for 2017
Falcons offensive line ranked sixth-best for 2017

Rookie Sean Harlow will get a chance to win the right guard spot. Curtis Compton/ Pro Football Focus ranked the Falcons’ line as the sixth-best unit in 2016. The Falcons return four starters along the offensive line with the weakest link, right guard Chris Chester, off to retirement. That opens up the possibility that the unit...
Pro Football Focus: Falcons’ roster is now the NFL’s best
Pro Football Focus: Falcons’ roster is now the NFL’s best

He’s No. 2. His team’s No. 1. (Curtis Compton/AJC) Two years ago, Pro Football Focus ranked the Atlanta Falcons’ roster the NFL’s 31st-best.
John McEnroe: Serena Williams comments ‘didn’t go over big with my daughters’
John McEnroe: Serena Williams comments ‘didn’t go over big with my daughters’

Anna, Ava and Emily McEnroe were not pleased with their father’s comments regarding Serena Williams this week.  In an appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Tuesday night, McEnroe revealed his daughters have given him some grief over saying the 23-time Grand Slam winner would be ranked “like No. 700&rdquo...
COVER 9@9: How will the Falcons ‘Brotherhood’ celebrate?
COVER 9@9: How will the Falcons ‘Brotherhood’ celebrate?

FEBRUARY 5, 2017 HOUSTON TX Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford (23) celebrates an interception run back for touchdown as the Atlanta Falcons meet the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX, Sunday, February 5, 2017.
More Stories