After all of the “will they or won’t they” drama regarding Atlanta United and their two first round SuperDraft picks, the club selected center back Miles Robinson and midfielder Julian Gressel. There were trades in the first round, with NYCFC being particularly aggressive about moving up, but Atlanta chose to stick with their two picks.
Robinson was the right player for the club at number two, someone I’ve been high on all along. He was our number two pick in the SB Nation mock draft. As Carlos Bocanegra stressed, Robinson will not be expected to come in and be a starter right away. He will have the benefit of being able to learn and develop under a veteran like Michael Parkhurst. His Generation adidas contract is also key, he will not count against the salary cap while he is part of the program.
His recovery speed was specifically highlighted as a good fit for Tata Martino’s system. With the club playing a higher defensive line than most, pace in the back is important. Robinson showed throughout his time at Syracuse and at the combine that he has the wheels to get back in that situation. Bocanegra also cited his anticipation. His ball skills are also another fine fit for Martino’s style of play.
Gressel was a surprise at #8 . Most mock drafts had him going in the second half of the first round. Bocanegra’s comments on Sirius XM’s Counterattack show shed light on what Atlanta was thinking in selecting Gressel:
“We feel like he’s ready to contribute now, and we want to be competitive now. We’re not necessarily getting a youngster who’s 17 or 18 because we have a good academy system. We don’t want to block our guys and their progression coming into the first team.
We feel like Julian can contribute in the midfield, whether it’s as a #10, #8, combo/double #8, he can give us some minutes.“
With Robinson being one for the future and Gressel being one who can contribute now, Atlanta United bolstered their depth chart yesterday. Bocanegra also said that they hope to make another announcement regarding player acquisitions in the next week. Could that be Brad Guzan, Leandro González Pírez, or someone else? We will have to wait and see.
Training camp starts in a little over one week...
Who scored the best grades in the SuperDraft? (MLS)
Notes from the floor at the SuperDraft (FourFourTwo)
More behind-the-scenes news from the SuperDraft, Minnesota has three or four signings “in the pipeline” (SI)
Duluth’s Daniel Johnson went to Chicago at #11 (CSN Chicago)
LA Galaxy trade AJ DeLaGarza to Houston Dynamo for allocation money (LAG Confidential)
Minnesota United making a push for Orlando City’s Kevin Molino (Goal)
Orlando says that Molino is not being shopped by the club (Orlando Sentinel)
New York Red Bulls will make more changes ahead of the 2017 season (Once a Metro)
Gregg Berhalter hints a new defensive system in Columbus (Massive Report)
Don Garber discusses some of the MLS expansion hopefuls (SBI Soccer)
With the Chargers leaving San Diego, could MLS come to town next? (San Diego Union Tribune)
NWSL interested in Los Angeles expansion (Soccer Nation)
Paraguayan winger Derlis Gonzalez of Dynamo Kyiv, previously linked to NYCFC, has interest from an unnamed MLS club (ABC Paraguay)
Three of Canada’s long-time women’s national team players announce their retirement (CBC)
USMNT hopeful Paul Arriola scored an amazing goal with Tijuana last night: