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Atlanta United Final Exams: Michael Parkhurst

Fifth time’s a charm for the captain.

MLS: MLS Cup-Portland Timbers vs Atlanta United FC Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Parkhurst

Position: Defender

Games Played: 33 Appearances, 32 Starts

Passing Accuracy: 86.2%

Assists: 2

What went right this season?

In his fifth time of trying, the veteran defender finally was able to lift MLS Cup. His leadership and calming influence on Atlanta United’s back line was invaluable. Not only did the 34-year-old perform well over all expectations for a player of his age, he appeared in all but one match throughout the regular season. That durability and reliability was crucial during the team’s run to lifting the cup.

What does he need to improve upon?

This is a difficult question to answer for Parkhurst. For a player of his age, he performed just about as well as anyone could have imagined. If he returns in 2019, we can only hope he somehow continues in a similar manner for another season.

What role will he play in 2019?

As of writing, Parkhurst has become eligible for free agency. Atlanta have already made their intentions of re-signing the defender known. If this is true, an offer will be made from Atlanta, meaning another club would have to make a better offer to pry him away. If he returns, he’ll likely resume his role as captain and defensive stalwart next to Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. He’ll be 35 years old when the new season begins. Can we expect another full season of top quality play? Maybe not. That doesn’t mean he can’t be a valuable contributor and mentor to the likes of Miles Robinson and others.

Overall Player Grade: A-