Atlanta United FC took the next step in building its roster with their first ever MLS SuperDraft selections. They took Syracuse defender Miles Robinson with the second overall pick, and followed that with Providence midfielder Julian Gressel with the day’s eighth pick.
The consensus on Miles Robinson is that he may need a little seasoning on the training grounds before entering the starting lineup (which probably won’t be long, in my opinion), but he could potentially be a player that Atlanta United can build around for years to come. One review I read came from the PDL website, where his coach at FC Boston, Brian Ainscough, had some great things to say.
He has all the tools to push to the next level. Besides his great athleticism, he has the mentality that most young players are lacking.
Here’s what club president Darren Eales said of Robinson:
Miles has got it in spades...We’d been watching him all through his play at Syracuse, Carlos [Bocanegra] played that position (center back) and he was really high on him, and Tata really just like the tools he was putting on display.
Robinson has shown a knack for scoring from the CB position with eight career goals to his credit at Syracuse. His skill in the air (as well as his basketball background) can be put on display as he can be used inside the box on set pieces and challenge for long balls and 50/50 opportunities. With Robinson as a key part of their backfield, Syracuse kept 20 clean sheets in the past two seasons. Jason Longshore wrote about his strong possession skills as well in his draft profile a few days back, so take a look to see his impressions.
Gressel is a high-scoring midfielder who notched 15 goals in his final season at Providence this past fall, helping the Friars to two Elite Eight appearances during his college career. Along with having good awareness and a great nose for the ball, Gressel is also skilled at creating for his teammates, recording six assists in 2016 and 26 for his career. While watching his highlights, I was very impressed with his great field vision and his passing, which will help Atlanta United get the ball forward quickly on counter-attacking opportunities. He also has a cannon for a leg (see 2:13).
Robinson and Gressel are a pair of players that could stand to have bright futures for MLS. While it’s too early to tell how big of an impact they’ll have in their first year, the excitement that Atlanta United supporters have surrounding these two players is certainly for good reason.