One thing lost in all of the feelings spilling out over the Julian Gressel-to-D.C. United trade news is that justice is being served. A player who was a measly No. 8 overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft, busted his ass to become a near TAM-level talent in this league in three seasons. Getting rewarded for that progression is what needed to happen and thankfully it is.
Unfortunately for Atlanta United fans who have grown fond of Julian through his incredible production and invaluable off-the-field contributions in the community, the Five Stripes weren’t the ones to serve up this justice.
We can debate Atlanta’s decision to balk at giving Gressel a big raise all we want. The fact is, we won’t know if that choice pays off or not for some time.
I wish I could offer you the eloquent explanation of why they didn’t give Gressel his money. All I can say is let’s wait and see how the whole offseason plays out before walking with pitchforks up to the training ground gates.
MLS is a league of its own. There are always going to be limitations and quirks that the average fan (and even the knowledgeable fan) don’t understand sometimes. Could Atlanta have given Gressel the reported $700,000 salary that D.C. is? Probably so. But, it also would’ve cut into any plans the team had for reinforcing the roster for another Cup/CCL run. It’s not like most leagues where every decision is cut-and-dry. Every non-DP roster decision has an effect on another.
As for Julian, let’s appreciate the three years he spent at the club. He came in as a virtually unknown rookie and left as a player fans are willing to burn down the whole internet for. That speaks volumes on how much of an impact he had on the club and the fan base.