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Atlanta United 2020 ins and outs: Midfielders

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Offering our opinions on the chances that each midfielder could leave the club in the offseason.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Orlando City SC Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to part two of our post-season Ins & Outs series. In part one, we discussed the defenders and goalkeepers. Today, we will progress up the pitch into midfield and discuss the likelihood of that these players will return wearing the Five Stripes next season.

Mo Adams

SOCCER: OCT 07 MLS - Orlando City SC at Atlanta United FC Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Joe: Mo Adams is a guy we’ve been seeing listed on everybody's’ perfunctory season-ending Bright Spots of 2020™ lists, and good for him. Now, this shouldn’t be mistaken for me saying he’s earned himself a spot as a Starting XI regular next season, but I think he proved that he’s a capable fill-in as either a traditional holding midfielder or more of a rangy ball-winner. I think Adams is a guy that we could see improve even more with the addition of a manager with a firm vision and style. With a squad makeover, I doubt he ends up playing as many minutes next year, but he was one of the few who improved their standing in the team this season. And look at those legs, cmon, those are a footballer’s legs.

Chances of leaving: 10%

Rob: Mo is the type of player every successful MLS club needs on their roster. A versatile depth player on a team-friendly contract. As long as the team controls his fate, I see no way he’s not wearing the Five Stripes next season. He was one of the few players who really “earned” their spot on the 2021 roster with some very good play the last few months of the season.

Chances of leaving: 5%

Andrew Carleton

Joe: Carleton had some nice highlight reels from games and showed legit quality at time on his loan to Indy, but then you look at the stats and they are ... not great. First, he started only 8 of Indy’s 16 games (14 total appearances), and only played the full 90 minutes twice. In total, he scored one goal and registered 3 assists. Take these with a massive grain of salt because looking at top-line numbers is not the proper way to evaluate a body of work, but it says something. Regardless, even if he scored a goal every game, it’d be shocking to see him back. According to interviews Carleton has given recently, it feels like all bridges have been burned and he’s looking for his next opportunity. Best of luck to him wherever he lands (which could be on another loan if his contract hasn’t expired).

Chances of leaving: 99%

Rob: Bridges entirely burned. I feel like I have a better chance of playing for Atlanta United in 2021 than Andrew Carleton does.

Chances of leaving: 100%

Emerson Hyndman

Nashville SC v Atlanta United FC Photo by Perry McIntyre/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Joe: Something I can say with a lot of certainty: all the things we and our readers are going to say about Hyndman in the post are less to do with Hyndman himself and more about the context surrounding him. That context being that, yes, Hyndman was the Nagbe successor. And while I’m under no illusion that the front office felt he was going to replicate the way Nagbe played, I do think they anticipated him to serve a similar function for the team. Hyndman was supposed to be a player who could be the midfield metronome, always making himself available as an outlet and able to recycle the ball to deliver it to the attacking players to do damage. Turns out, as many predicted, he’s not that guy. He’s shown some flashes, but they are too few and far inbetween, and they almost always happen in-and-around the box, which is his natural position. But even looking past the fact that he’s been miscast, his reported contract is a big problem. His reported deal is roughly $800k that rises to $1 million over three seasons (800k in 2020, 900k in 2021, 1 million in 2022). That is a hefty chunk of change that is a huge drain on the allocation money available. If he were on a more modest salary of around $300k, I think people would look at him way differently. So will he be around next year? I don’t see Atlanta being able to easily rid themselves of the contract.

Chances of leaving: 20%

Rob: I know his contract is awful. You all know his contract is awful. I’m quite sure if we put Carlos Bocanegra under oath right now he’d probably admit it’s awful too. Emerson is still a high profile name in American soccer. Perhaps there’s a club out there with funds to spare that rate him as highly as Atlanta did a couple of years ago. I’d imagine Carlos will be working the phones as much as possible to find a match in hopes of getting that contract off the books. Or maybe I’m completely wrong and the club are delusional. Still, it’s hard to see anyone taking his salary on without getting mighty creative.

Chances of leaving: 25%

Jeff Larentowicz

Joe: The big question here is whether Larentowicz finally hangs it up or plays here another season. I think the answer is the former, largely based on the likelihood that 2021 still won’t be a snap back to normal in terms of the day-to-day routine for players (I hope to god I’m wrong about that last part). He’s stuck around way longer than I ever imagined, and it’s a tough pill to swallow for a fan-favorite whose been a huge part of the club since that chilly night at Bobby Dodd Stadium against Red Bulls.

Chances of leaving: 90%

Rob: The magical fountain of youth keeping Larry ticking is finally teetering on the edge of empty. I have no idea what he’ll decide to do. I just hope the club finds a way to keep him around in some type of fashion, whether it be a coaching, mentor or front office role. He’s done so much for the club in such a short period of time. Things won’t be the same without him around.

Chances of leaving: 75%

Marcelino Moreno

Joe: Obviously not going anywhere. I’m more interested to hear your take on the signing. I’m extremely bullish on Moreno and how he fits in the squad. He’s the kind of hard-working midfielder with skill and strength to beat defenders and stretch the field vertically. It’s a tired comparison in this part of the world, but I really do see similarities to Miguel Almiron in what he does for the team. And his incredibly introverted, soft spoken manner doesn’t hamper his aggressiveness on the field. He’s a player who will roll with the very unique punches this league tends to dole out.

Chances of leaving: 0%

Rob: I’m a Marcelino Moreno fan, man. I love the way he goes about his business on the field. I can’t wait to see what he can do with more talent around him to work with. Roll on 2021.

Chances of leaving: 0%

Jake Mulraney

Joe: I understand the idea behind the Mulraney signing as an attempt to add athleticism to the left side of the pitch, which the previous year had been dominated by players like Jusstin Meram and Florentin Pogba. In the end though, I don’t think Mulraney did enough to have an option picked up, and unless he’s on a multi-year deal (doubtful) I think his time might be over in Atlanta.

Chances of leaving: 75%

Rob: I never like to be too critical about individual players here on the bloggy blog, but Mulraney just doesn’t do it for me in any fashion. I still have no idea what type of role he’s supposed to fill. Is he a winger? A wingback? Either way, I’m not overly impressed with his skillset for either position. I think it’s a one and done for Jake in Atlanta.

Chances of leaving: 90%

Eric Remedi

SOCCER: NOV 01 MLS - FC Cincinnati at Atlanta United FC Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Joe: Outside of Jeff Larentowicz, I think Eric Remedi is the least likely of this group of players we’re covering today to return. Remedi is one of the most-liked and easy-going players in the dressing room, but his performances just do not match the required level. Remedi played well in Atlanta for a period of six months upon his arrival under Tata Martino in 2018. Outside of that, he’s been consistently poor, only showing bright moments here and there. He’s a player who ideally would be the holding midfielder sitting in front of the back 4, but he’s so mistake-prone that you feel very vulnerable with him occupying that role. Fitness has also been an issue. I think this is another classic example of both parties needing a change.

Chances of leaving: 90%

Rob: We’ll always have 2018, Eric. Thanks for those memories.

Chances of leaving: 99%

Matheus Rossetto

Joe: Nobody seems to divide opinion like Rossetto, with some seeing him as the player I described earlier that Hyndman was supposed to be — the steady midfield passer — and others who see him as a passenger. I’m still skeptical overall and think he plays way too timid most of the time, but he certainly seems like a player with the tools to grow and develop. Given the way he was touted by Frank de Boer and the club upon signing, he seems like a guy who is on a contract that the club wouldn’t be able to cut to break after this season. He’s one where it will be interesting to see what kind of money he’s on once the MLSPA releases its annual salary guide (which I assume is still happening at some point).

Chances of leaving: 20%

Rob: I feel some guilt over Rossetto’s critics. I don’t think anyone was hyping him up more than me after his first appearance in the preseason. He looked like an absolute world-beater in an advanced role. It turns out that USL competition isn’t the greatest measuring stick. Who knew? His actual regular season performances were very weird to me. It’s clear that he’s a technically gifted player but it seemed like he never gained any sort of confidence or chemistry with the group. Stephen Glass put him in a Nagbe-like role but I’m just not sold on that being the ideal spot to use him in. Sure he can make the easy, comfortable passes, but that’s where the similarities to Nagbe end. I’m not giving up on him yet. I’d like to see the new manager give him more freedom to be a creative attacker instead of a box-to-box facilitator.

Chances of leaving: 5%

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That’s it from us on the midfield. We’ll be back Monday for part three of this series to talk about the wingers and forwards. As always, let us know your assessments of these players too.