Atlanta United 2022 ins and outs: Midfielders


In this three-part series, we’re going through Atlanta United’s entire roster and guess how likely it is a player will leave before the start of next season. This post is Part 2 of the series after we first covered the goalkeepers and defense in Part 1. It’s important to note that contract info is not readily available in most cases and we’ll be guessing at a lot of the statuses of players heading into the winter.

Midfielders

Ozzie Alonso

Joe: Ozzie Alonso played in four MLS games for Atlanta United this year that resulted in three wins and a draw. He’s on a senior minimum contract. Basically, if he wants to keep playing after his ACL tear, Atlanta United will happily take him. And while he hasn’t been in the spotlight, he’s stayed around the team throughout the season. I have a feel like there’s a greater than 50-50 chance he will decide to come back. Chances of leaving: 40%

Rob: I feel like it’s between retirement or coming back for unfinished business and the former was going to happen it seems like it would have already. Chances of leaving: 20%

Amar Sejdic

Joe: The only reason Amar Sejdic would not be in Atlanta next year is because another team makes a trade offer that Atlanta can’t refuse. But I’m not gonna bank on that, no pun intended. He’s a great rotation/depth piece to have that is familiar with the system. Chances of leaving: 5%

Rob: Cheap, Durable, Versatile, and Capable. He possesses the perfect ingredients for an MLS squad player. You have to think the club will keep onto him if possible. Chances of leaving: 10%

Emerson Hyndman

Joe: Remember him? After what was supposedly a relatively minor injury, he never made it back to the squad, and it leaves me to assume that he is gone. He’s been an enigmatic player seemingly his entire career, his ATLUTD stint being no different. Atlanta did not pay a fee for Hyndman, so they will happily let his salary go off the budget. Re-signing him at a cheaper deal is theoretically possible, but unlikely. Chances of leaving: 90%

Rob: I feel bad for Emo. I really do. He seems like a great guy but this signing was doomed from the start. I’ll even go as far as saying that alongside the Jurgen Damm move, this was the worst acquisition of Carlos Bocanegra’s Atlanta United tenure so far. It really is almost inexcusable how much salary cap space he’s taken up compared to the production he’s offered. Nevertheless, getting his salary off the books opens up a ton of options for the club and not a moment too soon. Chances of leaving: 95%

Matheus Rossetto

Joe: Rossetto signed with Atlanta United prior to the 2020 season, so he’s been here three years now. It’s probably getting to that time where Atlanta would like to sort out his future, but any fee they get would be marginal given his track record in Atlanta. Kind of insane that a technical midfielder could rack up more than 3500 minutes in MLS without scoring a single goal, but here we are. Finding a suitor will be easier said than done, though. Chances of leaving: 60%

Rob: I remember being so excited for Rossetto after his first minutes with the club against Birmingham Legion in the 2020 preseason. I believe I even wrote an article hailing him as a difference-making signing. Which is hilarious looking back on it now. He’s not a bad player, don’t get me wrong. He just offers very little in the way of dynamism that it’s painful to watch at times. He is in the long list of candidates to receive the offseason contract buyout from the club if they can’t offload him somewhere. Chances of leaving: 75%

Marcelino Moreno

Joe: I’m starting to realize how different Atlanta’s midfield will be next year! Moreno is almost certainly gone after not only falling out of Pineda’s starting XI, but hardly being utilized as a sub, either. Pineda’s system does not easily accommodate both Thiago Almada and a player like Moreno. We know who the better player is given that circumstance. Chances of leaving: 85%

Rob: Poor Marcie. A talented player, no doubt. But there is just something about his style of play that is in complete contrast to what Atlanta United aim to do. It’s not his fault, he is who he is. It’s clear at this point that something needs to be done. I feel like he should be easier to move out than Rossetto but it’ll still be tough. Chances of leaving: 90%

Santiago Sosa

Joe: One of the bright spots of Atlanta United’s season — particularly the second half — was the play of Sosa, who solidified his role as Gonzalo Pineda’s No. 6. It’s easy to see him resuming in that role next season fully healthy, but he’s also a player that might be of interest to other teams. Chances of leaving: 15%

Rob: Get him a reliable partner in midfield to mesh with and I think 2023 could be Santi’s year to take that step into the upper echelon of MLS holding midfielders. If he can stay healthy, that is. Chances of leaving: 5%

Franco Ibarra

Joe: Pineda speaks highly of Ibarra, but I feel like he took a step backward this season after flashing early on. He’s too reckless with the ball and too immobile off of it. I think Atlanta would like to move Ibarra if they can to open up a U-22 slot. But again, who’s gonna make an offer for him? Chances of leaving: 35%

Rob: The numbers are pretty damning. For a young player who was supposed to be a lightning rod in the midfield, he just doesn’t cover a ton of ground when on the field. It’s a very worrisome aspect of his development at this point. Unfortunately, I don’t really see any takers for him unless they look to move him out on loan and let him play elsewhere. Chances of leaving: 20%

Thiago Almada

Joe: The big one. I hope Atlanta United can keep him because we saw especially in the second half of the season (after he was firmly settled into the team and culture of the league) how potent he can be. There will definitely be suitors for him, but if he doesn’t have a release clause then Atlanta United has very little reason to sell — even if Darren Eales and Newcastle come in with Miguel Almiron type of money. Would you rather have the extra $1.1 million of allocation money and no Thiago Almada? Id’ rather have Almada himself. But again, this is the toughest one to judge given the unknown clauses that might be in his contract. It’s a true toss up for me. Chances of leaving: 50%

Rob: While I understand the sentiment and I wholly want to see a full season of Thiago Almada in Atlanta United with a healthier and improved squad around him, the club have an obligation to fulfill his wishes. It’s clear the kid wants to go to Europe and credit to him, he’s gone out and earned it with a great season under tough circumstances. He never gave up on the team despite it being a very poor season and for that we must be grateful. However, if a respectable offer comes that meets his expectations, I think the club must do what they can to facilitate that move. It’s not ideal but it’s the business of being an MLS club and you don’t want to earn the reputation of being the team that stands in the way of players and their ultimate career goals. Chances of leaving: 55%



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