Dion Pereira, 19, was acquired by Atlanta United before the 2019 season on a free transfer from Watford. Before making the move to MLS Pereira was apart of Watford’s youth academy but only made two appearances for the first team.
Games played: 20 appearances, 8 starts (all competitions)
What went right this season?
Pereira surprised many at the beginning year by playing more minutes than most expected, and even some important minutes by the middle of the season. For a young player that was picked off a Premier League academy and not spending a ton of time with the first team early, he showed danger in the attacking third at times. His best moment this season was flicking the ball forward to Emerson Hyndman to give Atlanta an early 1-0 lead in the Campeones Cup, which Atlanta United would of course go on to win.
What does he need to improve on?
While he was dangerous on the ball and in creating space on the wing, he lacked the finishing touch whether it was the final pass or shot. Another thing to watch is if he can bring more of a defensive presence to be able to play a LWB role in the teams 3-5-2 shape.
What will his role be in 2020?
Pereira should be in the running to see minutes as a backup left winger with a chance to earn a good amount of minutes. This is especially true if Atlanta moves on from someone like Tito Villalba this offseason, further opening up a path to playing time. A big question will be whether he is able to contribute as a wing-back on a regular basis (opposed to an emergency role where the team is chasing the game). If he can, he’ll only help himself and his career by earning more playing time.
Overall Grade: B