Despite so many fluctuations to Atlanta United’s lineup due to injuries over the course of the 2022 season, Brooks Lennon was a constant figure in Gonzalo Pineda’s side when available. He was derailed by his first significant injury suffered as an Atlanta United player when he sprained his MCL in late June during pre-game warmups in Toronto. But outside of that hiccup, he was a consistent performer who showed that he was the best option for Pineda at either right fullback or right wing — wherever his services were required.
Minutes: 2033 (25 games)
What went right?
As it always has been with Lennon, his main asset to the team is his general fitness level, availability and consistency at one of the most taxing positions to play. Despite being just 24 years old throughout the season (he recently turned 25), he feels like one of the elder-statesmen in the locker room that will address the media’s questions head on.
On the field, he gets forward and is as attacking as any fullback in MLS. He finished the year with 1.9 xG and 7.9 xA, which as seen above is close to — if not the — best marks in the league versus other fullbacks. Something to consider though when looking at the FBref stats seen above is that it doesn’t parse out games in which Lennon started as a fullback vs. a winger and use those games for the comps. So naturally, as a player who sometimes played on the wing, Lennon will look more attacking vs fullbacks and more defensive vs other wingers. Still, it fits the eye test that he’s a player who Gonzalo Pineda relied upon to contribute in the final third, no matter his position.
What to improve on?
As with any player, decision-making and technical ability in both boxes can always be improved. For Lennon, it’s no different. But the decision-making is a critical component of the position he plays. The ability to know when to try to swing in a cross, when to recycle possession, and when to make an off-the-ball run into the box can be a difference maker for the team.
But let’s be honest, we know who Lennon is as a player at this point. The big question is whether the kind of player he is fulfills the value of his contract at $500k last season. It’s a pretty penny to pay for a fullback. I’d say the answer is that it is worth it, especially given his versatility and his professionalism that the club needs more of at the moment.
What role will he play in 2023?
Probably the same. He has an option that I expect Atlanta to pick up — if not potentially even offer him a new contract.
Overall Player Grade: B
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