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Atlanta United Final Exams: Brad Guzan

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He’s big, he’s bald, he’s a mother f***ing wall.

MLS: MLS Cup-Portland Timbers vs Atlanta United FC Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Guzan

Position: Goalkeeper

Games Played: 38 appearances, 38 starts

Saves: 93

Goals allowed: 43

What went right this season?

How exactly do you analyze a non-descript goalkeeper that does the typical goalkeepery things? Brad Guzan made a few errors, and he made many more huge goal-saving swipes with his bog strong goalkeeper paws. Guzan was solid this year as we all expected. Personally, I thought Atlanta was making a mistake by paying significant money (by MLS standards) for a goalkeeper, but Guzan has proven to be worth the money. He’s extremely well-rounded as far as goalkeepers go, as capable of commanding his area and safely catching a cross as he is to make a reaction save. There’s just not really a good way to quantify Guzan’s value because, well, he’s a goalkeeper. Even the people who get paid money for a living to analyze players are still trying to figure out how to determine good goalkeepers (and we know Guzan isn’t looking at stats anyway.)

What does he need to improve on?

I wouldn’t qualify this as a weakness of Guzan’s, but something most goalkeepers in modern football can improve is their kicking. I’m not talking about how far he can boot the ball downfield, I’m talking about distributing in short and intermediate ranges. It’s even more important for this skill to be refined in a system that Atlanta has implemented under Tata Martino and is sure to continue (in some variation) under his successor. Considering Guzan’s size and, erm, overall aesthetic, you would think he’s a “lumper,” but he’s actually not bad with his feet. But there’s always room to improve.

What role will he play in 2019?

This is easy. He’s going to be the starting goalkeeper at Atlanta United, barring a trade.

Overall Player Grade: B+