First Team Pros: Need the depth at winger
With ATL letting Jacob Peterson go and not re-signing Yamil Asad, the lack of depth on the wing is noticeable; especially on Carleton’s favored left side. He is the only direct substitute for Ezequiel Barco. While Julian Gressel and Brandon Vasquez can play on either side, they are both better off on the right side with their preferred foot. This season could prove to be a massive opportunity for the youngster. Maybe Carleton can follow in the footsteps of a few other young Americans, such as Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie, who have really taken advantage of the opportunities they were given at their respective clubs.
First Team Cons: Might not get much time on the field
That being said, he is sitting behind a few DP level players in Barco and Tito Villalba. Barring an injury most of the minutes at winger will be occupied by those two players. It does not seem like Tata has any interest in rushing Carleton’s development. He is more interested in him taking his time and becoming a more complete player physically and mentally. He knows that rushing a young player who isn't ready for a top league yet would vastly hinder his development.
Reserve Team Pros: Consistent game time
A large part of a player’s development is consistently playing against high level competition. While Carleton technically does have 2 years of pro experience under his belt, the young homegrown only has 6 appearances. Spending most of, or the full season, consistently playing and leading the front line, with ATL UTD 2 would do wonders for his development. He would not only be able to gain even more pro experience; but also it would give him more time to physically ready his body for MLS.
Reserve Teams Cons: It’s time to unleash the hype train
This take might be a bit selfish, but I think I speak for most ATL fans when saying this; we are desperate to see this hype train leave the station. We have watched him help the u16 academy team win a national championship, and be an integral part in many tournaments for US Youth National Teams, including five starts at the U17 World Cup. Not to mention, in the single start he was given last year in the US Open Cup he was fantastic. The 17-year-old looked comfortable and confident on the ball taking on defenders and in possession, while also firing off a team high 6 shots and drawing a penalty.
Verdict: Start the year with the First Team but his time will be split
Taking into account these factors it would be smart for Carleton to, at the least, start off the year with the first team. With Jacob Peterson’s contract recently being waived, it looks as if Carleton is right in the mix competing for minutes off the bench. This would also reassure the young star that he will be given chances for his hometown club. Fellow young Americans such as Weston McKennie and Josh Sargent have recently left their MLS academies to play in Europe mainly because they felt they would be given more opportunities to develop and break into the first team.
When questioned on the subject before preseason Tata had this to say.....
Tata on Carleton and Goslin: “Goslin will see a lot of time with the second team. Carleton could earn minutes with both teams.”— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) January 22, 2018
Having Andrew split time between the two teams seems like a perfect solution, he will be given consistent game time with whichever team he is with at the moment. Whether that is coming in as an impact sub for the first team or getting a full 90 minutes with ATL UTD 2 it looks as if ATL fans will have plenty of opportunities to watch the young homegrown; also known as Andrew Carleton but mainly known as the Powder Springs Pulisic.
Where do you think Carleton should get his minutes? Vote in the poll and let us know in the comments!
Which team should Andrew Carleton play for this year?
This poll is closed
Atlanta United 2
Some of both