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Atlanta United Final Exams 2022: Santiago Sosa

Did missed time hamper what would have been a fantastic season for the Argentine midfielder?

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Santiago Sosa impressed in his debut season last year, providing solidity in the midfield and using his defensive qualities to good effect. When Ozzie Alonso was brought in during the offseason, it was expected that he and Sosa would be the main pairing in the midfield so that the younger Sosa could benefit under the veteran leadership of Alonso. Unfortunately, the two didn’t even get to play 60 minutes together due to Sosa’s visa issues and Alonso’s ACL tear five games into the season. That and Sosa missing a significant chunk of the season due to injuries and illness saw Sosa go mostly under the radar this season as compared to last. Well... except for that rocket he scored in Columbus. That was pretty sick.


Minutes: 1,409 (21 games played, 15 starts)

Goals: 1

Assists: 0

What went right?

Despite the missed time, Sosa was able to bounce back pretty well after some time being slowly integrated into the lineup. Once he got into his rhythm alongside a much-improved Amar Sejdić, the midfield saw an improvement. His tackling remains excellent and his game-sense is superb. And of course, he grabbed his goal at Columbus which was surely the highlight of his season.

What to improve on?

Really the main thing for Sosa is staying healthy and trying to get consistent minutes with a consistent lineup. Aside from that, I’d say that his pass accuracy could use some work as some of his longer and more penetrative passes tended to be off. Although his role is mostly defensive, if he can make those long passes in to quick wingers such as Luiz Araújo and Derrick Etienne Jr, the team’s attacking transitions can be much quicker and much deadlier.

What role will he play in 2023?

Next season, I’d expect the club to try to sign another center midfielder to play alongside him and control the midfield a bit more. With another midfielder running around and helping pressure and dictate the tempo of the attack, Sosa can stay back a bit more in his natural defensive midfielder role and be able to stop a quick counterattack on time and ensure the team doesn’t find itself outnumbered when in a defensive transition. There have been rumors floating around of Boca Junior’s Agustín Almendra potentially being this midfield signing, but so far it’s just a rumor.

If the team doesn’t end up adding to the midfield in any significant way, Ozzie Alonso will likely be the other half of that midfield pairing to allow Alonso’s veteran experience and leadership to organize the team in key moments.

Overall Player Grade: B-