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Atlanta United Final Exams: Tito Villalba

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After battling injuries all year, he ended the Red Bulls season with a Jägerbomb.

MLS: MLS Cup-Portland Timbers vs Atlanta United FC Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Hector “Tito” Villalba

Position: Forward

Games Played: 33 appearances, 21 starts

Goals: 8

Assists: 6

What went right this season?

Despite formation changes and nagging injuries during the season that saw him go in and out of the lineup, Tito was clutch and kept scoring golazos as he always does. His mentality, even coming off the bench as a substitute for the latter portions of the season, was fantastic, and we saw it against the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Finals. His goal in stoppage time against the Red Bulls - plus some questionable tactics by Chris Armas - basically sent Atlanta to the MLS Cup final, and the rest is history.

What does he need to improve on?

He could improve his decision making for sure, but if you ask Tito what he needs to improve he would say nothing…. he is who he is, and no one is going to change him. He can be frustrating and annoying sometimes, but we must take the good with the bad. He’s always going to bring an unpredictability that no one else will, and that’s what makes him special.

What role will he play in 2019?

Even without knowing Atlanta’s next manager and his preferred formation, I would think Tito would play a key role next season due to his versatility. As one of Atlanta’s most dangerous players going forward, he’s not afraid of taking chances and has a great chemistry with the team. With one of Atlanta’s main offensive sources in Miguel Almirón likely departing, Villalba should have a bigger role in the attack next season.

Overall Player Grade: B+