Atlanta United signed Jürgen Damm on July 1st, immediately after his contract with Tigres UANL of Mexico had expired. His first appearance wasn’t until August 29th, however, when he came off the bench in the team’s first ever loss to Orlando City and got the assist in Atlanta’s only goal in that game. Ultimately, he missed just three of Atlanta’s remaining games this season (due to injury).
Games Played: 14 Games (7 Starts)
What went right this season?
At one time Damm was known as one of the fastest soccer players in the world, behind only Gareth Bale and Orlando Berrio. He doesn’t feature on the top ten list any more, which is not too surprising in a game that gets faster every year (it also doesn’t help that he’s now 28). However, it is evident that he can still turn on the jets when needed, and to his advantage MLS isn’t the fastest of leagues. When he does hit the gas, he can be entertaining to watch. It is also clear that despite all the silly TikToks he takes his on-field role seriously and that he is a fierce competitor. 4 assists isn’t a bad tally (one every 158 minutes), especially on a team that struggled to score.
What does he need to improve on?
Damm has two major issues to work on. The first is game fitness. As noted above, he played in 14 games for United, starting only half of those and logging a total of 634 minutes. He did not play a single entire game all season. Going back, he played 14 games for Tigres in the entire 2019-20 season, logging a mere 372 minutes. He started only 2 games, and none since September 29th, 2019. In the 7 starts he got for Atlanta, he was substituted out every game, although his minutes overall lengthened as the season progressed. That’s not going to cut it going forward.
The second issue is crossing. In this he seems much like a right-wing mirror image of Ezequiel Barco, preferring to use his speed to work in towards the penalty area rather than to serve the ball in wide. He was brought in to fill the yawning chasm left by Julian Gressel, but so far he has shown himself a far different player. Damm has both the speed and the footwork to force his way into the box, but his game needs to be more than one-dimensional.
What role will he play in 2021?
At this point, Damm doesn’t have much competition at right wing. Manuel Castro was more or less a bust and there really isn’t any other option on the roster right now. Barring any off-season signings, he’s going to be the starter. Those minutes are going to increase significantly.
Aside from that, he is also the official goofy grin replacement for the much missed Miggy Smiles.