It was an exciting time in the Atlanta United kingdom when Alex Tambakis was announced as the club's first ever signing. Sure, not many fans knew who he was, but it was just cool to finally have a player to talk about. A few months later, news of Junior Burgos signing with the team emerged and then they had two!
Obviously neither can play for Atlanta United until 2017, so both went out on loan for a season of growth. Tambakis was sent to the club's USL affiliate, the Charleston Battery. While Burgos would stay in the NASL (where he played with the Atlanta Silverbacks the previous season) and play with the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Both players started the season off strong, featuring in the starting lineups of their respective clubs. However, as May has crept up on us, Tambakis and Burgos have slowly seen their roles at their clubs diminish.
After Tambakis started the first four matches of the season, the Battery have opted to start 2015 Goalkeeper of the Year nominee, Odinsel Cooper, in three of the last four matches. In five matches of action, the 23-year-old has conceded seven goals.
In Tampa, Burgos started the first two matches of the NASL season and came off the bench in the next two. Earlier this week, the Rowdies signed former England international, Joe Cole, who plays in the same position as Burgos. As a result, the former Silverback didn't even make the bench in Saturday's match.
What does it mean for Atlanta United that their only two players aren't playing with their loan teams?
Well, it doesn't really mean much at all. At best, Tambakis will be the club's backup goalkeeper in 2017 and realistically he'd be third string. Him getting the occasional start for the Battery is acceptable and going into the season it's what everyone thought would be the initial plan. It was a little surprising to see him starting every match to begin with.
As for Burgos, it's important to remember that he's not guaranteed a spot on Atlanta United's roster come their inaugural season. They hold his MLS rights and the right to sign him should they choose to. He was a very low risk signing. If he turns it around for Tampa Bay this season and impresses, then all is great and the club will be happy. But if he continues to see his role and minutes diminish, then it's likely United will just let him walk before the 2017 season.
It's not a great sign that both players aren't playing, but it's not much to worry about from a competitive standpoint as neither player is likely to be a vital member of the inaugural roster.