In his second year in Atlanta, Darlington Nagbe proved once again he’s unlike any other player in MLS. No midfielder in this league offers the technical quality, intelligence and ability to control a game like he does. Even in an up-and-down season of uncertain tactics, Nagbe was one of the few constants. That’s Darlington Nagbe in a nutshell. Reliable, quality and impactful.
He is leaving with three trophies to his name. Let’s take a look back at his final season with the Five Stripes.
Position: Central Midfielder
Games Played: 46
What went right this season?
What didn’t go right (apart from winning MLS Cup)? Aside from a weird preseason disagreement with the club, as soon as Nagbe settled into Frank de Boer’s starting XI he took to it like a duck to water. Whether it was sitting in front of the back four, blazing from box to box in transition or slowly calming down a frantic spell of play, Nagbe was always there when you needed him. No matter what the situation called for, he more often than not had the answer.
It didn’t matter if De Boer was playing a YOLO style 3-4-3 early in the season, a conservative and dull 4-2-3-1 in the spring or a more comfortable 5-3-2 towards the second half of the season and into the playoffs. It seemed like Nagbe was the only player in the squad immune to having a bad performance.
Replacing his contributions to the lineup feels almost impossible. That’s the type of impact he’s had on this team for the last two years. For as much money and resources as Atlanta United has, to say that about one player is about as big of a compliment as you can give. He will be sorely missed.
What does he need to improve on?
What team he plays for.
What role will he play in 2020?
I don’t want to talk about it.
Overall Grade: A