Emerson Hyndman came to Atlanta United in July on loan from Bournemouth in the summer transfer window. His impact was felt immediately and he quickly began earning starts for the team down the stretch. At 23 years-old, Hyndman hasn’t broken through at Bournemouth despite a few successful loan spells. He added another solid showing with Atlanta United this year and time will tell if that means getting a more serious look with the EPL team, or possibly joining the Five Stripes for good.
Position: Central Midfield
Games Played: 15, 10 starts
Goals: 1 (MLS league play), 1 (US Open Cup), 1 (Campeones Cup)
What went right this season?
Hyndman was an impactful player who gave the team a boost when it was needed most. His first appearance with the club came on July 14 against Seattle. That game marked a turn around for Atlanta and Hyndman was a key part of the run the team went on in August that saw it win a pair of trophies. He came on as a sub in the Open Cup Final and scored the opening goal in the Campeones Cup. The midfielder also made an impression on Frank de Boer and turned the attacking midfield spot that was presumably Pity Martinez’s to occupy into a position battle.
Throw in the go ahead goal against San Jose, the score that sealed the Open Cup win in Orlando, and a start in the playoffs against New England and this was an all together successful loan for the young American.
What does he need to improve on?
This is tough, Hyndman did just about everything that was asked of him in 2019. He was effective in starts in an attacking role and as a sub was a more defensive minded forward player when games needed to be put away. In a league that is notorious for having shallow benches, he brought depth to a roster that needed it in the second half of the year and adapted to the team fairly seamlessly. Hyndman is a really versatile player. He does a lot of things well to set up shooting chances, has great vision, makes terrific runs, and can drop back and hustle when Atlanta isn’t in possession.
That said, he’s not exactly great at any one of these things. That’s fine for him and it’s probably good for him to be adaptable since he’s finishing up his third loan spell, but to take a step forward it’d be great for him to find a settled role and prove that he can start in one spot week in and week out. That goes for if he’s on the Atlanta United roster next season or finds himself elsewhere in 2020.
What role will he play in 2020?
This is a great question. Of course, it all depends on if his loan from Bournemouth is made permanent. Assuming it is, Atlanta needs to replace Darlington Nagbe. It’d be a lot to ask of Hyndman to do that, or any player who would come to MLS for that matter, but perhaps his skillset lends itself to a deeper midfield role rather than the forward one he occupied in 2019. He’s also shown that he can play a lot of roles and is effective off the bench. My prediction is that the team will bring him in permanently and he will get a chance to occupy the central midfield spot Nagbe held. While Atlanta didn’t buy him from Bournemouth, the club did trade $200,000 in allocation money and an international slot to FC Dallas for his rights. That investment is out the window if he doesn’t come to MLS in 2020.
Overall player grade: