Atlanta United’s first-round pick in the 2020 MLS Draft is in. With the 23rd overall pick, the Five Stripes selected defender Patrick Nielsen from Michigan.
Nielsen, a native of Copenhagen, was an All-Big Ten selection following the 2019 season despite just 10 games played due to injury. In 2018, his first season with the Spartans following a transfer from Cincinnati, he started in all 23 games and was part of a defensive unit that allowed just 22 goals in that span. During the 2018 season, the Spartans advanced to the College Cup, falling to Akron in the semifinal round.
You may not see Nielsen at the Benz right away. Much like Miles Robinson in 2017, who was loaned to the Charleston Battery before getting time with ATL UTD 2 in 2018 prior to his debut with the first team, It’s possible Nielsen will get some seasoning in Cobb County to give him some seasoning in the pros right out of the gate. But with Michael Parkhurst’s retirement and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez’s pending transfer to Xolos, it will be interesting to see how Nielsen fits into the puzzle.
Welcome to Atlanta, Patrick!