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Final Exams: Alec Kann

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Local boy makes good

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Charleston Battery at Atlanta United FC Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Alec Kann

Position: Goalkeeper

Games Played: 18

Saves: 56

Clean sheets: 4

He’s one of our own, he’s one of our own, he’s ALEC KANN, he’s one of our own!

When Alec Kann was drafted in MLS he probably never thought he’d be between the sticks starting the first ever game in his hometown team’s history before a crowd of 55,000 people. That’s just where he was and where he stayed until an injury sidelined him for 16 games this year. Kann took the reins of the starting goalkeeping job and looked comfortable, establishing himself as a steady presence in the net going 8-7-3 in his 18 starts.

What went right this season: Kann helped establish defensive cohesion and chemistry with what would end the season as the 4th best defense in MLS. The netminder from Decatur was also asked to display a skill set that is probably fairly unfamiliar to keepers from the U.S.: playing with his feet. Not only was Kann a serviceable shot stopper, his play in helping to build from the back was crucial for Atlanta to create it’s attacking identity. After not being a regular starter in MLS until 2017, Kann showed that he was capable of being a starter in the league and made some clutch saves for Atlanta United. He did all of this while being in the unenviable position of knowing that Brad Guzan would be joining the squad in the summer. He did it all while chewing gum for 90 minutes game in and game out.

What does he need to improve on: At times, Kann had a tendency to be caught of two minds as a keeper. In order for him to improve, his decision making has to get better as far as when to challenge for a ball and when to stay home. In addition, while his distribution was decent, it was also an area that he could stand to improve upon.

What role will he play in 2018: To apply a malapropism from hand egg, the most important player on your team is your back up goalkeeper. If Kyle Reynish taught Atlanta United fans anything, it is that the value of a second string netminder cannot be underestimated. Expect Kann to step in for Brad Guzan when needed and have confidence knowing that he will be playing behind a very good backline.

Grade: B