Atlanta United: A much-needed rebuild is coming but patience is needed

Atlanta United (Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Atlanta United (Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Patience is needed for the upcoming Atlanta United rebuild

The change Atlanta United needed is coming quickly. With a punctuated and disappointing regular season finishing up only a couple of weeks ago, Atlanta United has already moved ahead with roster adjustments before their regular season is even over. The Five Stripes still have Club America to face in a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal match later this year.

Regardless, Atlanta United is declining options on eight players and letting Jeff Larentowicz‘s contract run out. This volatility matches last year’s trend. The only difference is that it is warranted this season. Dumping almost 10 players last season put unnecessary stress on de Boer, but this season it will allow the new manager to create a team they would like.

Another cause of the amount of offsets are, of course, the injuries. Injury-ridden players are not something Atlanta fans have been used to. This season saw extended injuries to two DP’s which sounded the alarm for a couple panic signings. Hence why Manuel Castro, Cubo Torres and Laurence Wyke all got actual minutes this season.

The most notable absentee for next season will be Andrew Carleton. The young star was destined for great things and even given personal messages form club owner Arthur Blank, but after countless discipline issues and a mediocre away spell at Indy Eleven in the USL Championship this year, Atlanta feel it is better to part ways.

What’s next?

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Carlos Bocanegra has said that there is not anyone in mind to take over from Stephen Glass, but South American reporters beg to differ. The likeliest candidate appears to be Gabriel Heinze.

Heinze was a former defender at the likes of Manchester United, PSG, Real Madrid, and Roma, but most recently he applied his managerial trade at Velez Sarsfield in Argentina before ending his term after the 2019-20 season. Velez Sarsfield finished sixth in third the last two seasons of Heinze’s reign.

Efrain Morales and Erik Lopez are finally going to get into the first team. Lopez, a Paraguayan, joined Atlanta from Olimpia, but was sent to the second team for the 2020 season due to rostering issues.

Morales, like Tyler Wolff, is an academy product. The 16-year-old centerback is a future project that will link up with Miles Robinson and serve as the Fernando Meza‘s understudy. Ezequiel Barco and Josef Martinez should both be fully fit by the start of next season, and Marcelino Moreno has a clean slate as the fresh DP. There is finally fun to be had with this team.

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What to expect?

Nothing. At least until January. A manager will most likely sign sometime in December so that they will have time to curate the team and potential transfers for the January window. Until then, Atlanta fans should be happy that the squad is getting this positive shakeup instead of sitting on the unsatisfactory squad the backroom has built during 2020.