UPDATE 12/14: It’s official. Josh Cohen is an Atlanta United player. Welcome to the club, Josh!
“Josh is someone with a unique career path who has backed himself at every step of his journey,” Carlos Bocanegra said in a club statement. “He has shown the ability to compete at the highest level in the UEFA Europa League and Champions League. We are pleased to welcome Josh to the club and look forward to him coming in and competing within our goalkeeping group.”
Atlanta United could be on the verge of adding Josh Cohen to its ranks after all.
According to ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura, Cohen and Atlanta are “close to a deal” that would bring the 31-year-old American goalkeeper to MLS. Cohen has been out of contract since leading Maccabi Haifa to a 3rd straight Israeli Premier League title in May. Cohen also led the club to the group stage of the 2022-23 UEFA Champions League which featured a 2-0 home victory over Italian power Juventus.
Sources: Atlanta United is close to a deal to sign goalkeeper Josh Cohen, who was most recently with Maccabi Haifa in the Israeli Premier League. Cohen was in USMNT camp in June. https://t.co/xCepb8Mnc5— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) December 13, 2023
It’s not the first time Cohen’s name has been linked to Atlanta United as it attempted to sign the player previously but ultimately couldn’t come to a deal. According to The Athletic’s Tom Bogert, representatives for the goalkeeper reportedly filed a complaint in September with MLS stating that the club violated league rules in the process, with the league later stating that Atlanta didn’t do so.
Renewed interest in a deal with Cohen comes as Atlanta may be nearing a crossroads at the GK position heading into 2024. Brad Guzan, under contract through 2025, has been the starter for much of the club’s existence, but at 39 and with two knee injuries over the past couple of years, how much longer he’ll remain in that role remains to be seen. Following Atlanta’s season-ending loss in the MLS Cup Playoffs to the Columbus Crew, Guzan stated that he’d discuss his future with his family, with Carlos Bocanegra during his season-ending media availability in November vowing to “let the emotions (from the end of the season) cool down a little bit” before talking things over with Guzan. The club “would still would like to bring in competition to the goalkeeper area...regardless” of Guzan’s decision, he added.
Meanwhile, Atlanta’s other first-team keepers from 2023, Quentin Westberg and Clément Diop, are currently out of contract, but the club is negotiations with Westberg. Justin Garces, a Homegrown Player signing in 2022, has spent significant time with ATL UTD 2 but saw his option declined.