Position: Left back
2021 League Games: 22 appearances, 19 starts (for New York Red Bulls)
What went right in 2021
A quick look at Gutman’s MLS player profile shows that 2021 was his best individual season in Major League Soccer, racking up 1837 minutes in the regular season across a career-high 22 appearances with New York Red Bull. Gutman tallied two goals and two assists to his name last season, both MLS career highs for the left back. Atlanta will be hoping that Gutman can bring the quality and consistency that he showed in New Jersey back to Atlanta. From the Atlanta United front office point of view, getting Gutman minutes within the league on loan and being able to bring him back to Atlanta as a potential starter (should George Bello leave (more on that later) was thoughtful preparation.
What to improve in 2022
Again, since this will Gutman’s first true season with Atlanta, I don’t think there's much that I can add here. He has essentially what is a fresh start with head coach Gonzalo Pineda, but he’s going to have to make the adjustment from the Red Bull system in which players vehemently press the ever living hell out of the other team when out of possession, but Pineda indicated after Atlanta United’s first preseason scrimmage against Georgia Storm that Gutman has been adjusting to Atlanta’s system pretty smoothly.
“I feel that Andrew is a fantastic new player that we got this year. I think his instincts to be aggressive is just outstanding for me,” Pineda said. “He’s someone that is going to help us a lot with that tough mentality that we’re going to need at times.”
2022 season outlook
Andrew Gutman could very well end up as Atlanta United’s starting left back this season. Of course, that’s contingent on whether or not George Bello ends up staying in Atlanta in 2022, but it appears that he’s more than likely heading out soon. Club President Darren Eales recently stated that the club would help facilitate a move for the Homegrown player should another club approach Atlanta United with the right offer. The other options at left back for Atlanta United are Mikey Ambrose and Caleb Wiley. You don’t want to rush Wiley into the first team picture too quickly, and I wouldn’t expect Ambrose to provide much for Atlanta United based on his disappointing 2021. So Gutman has a chance to stake his claim as the team’s first choice left back heading into the 2022 season.