Atlanta United released 8 players to move on to other clubs this afternoon. This move will serve the purpose of allowing The 5 Stripes to bring in more, younger players that can make a larger impact on the team. What will Atlanta Choose to do? Today Atlanta said goodbye to Justin Meram, Chris Goslin, Jose Hernandez, Kevin Kratz, Brek Shea, Florentin Pogba, Patrick Okonkwo, and Mikey Ambrose. From The 5 Stripe Maven, you will all be missed, and it was a privilege to watch you play in the ATL. This opens up almost $2,000,000 of cap space for the Five Stripes going into next season. This brings all kinds of possibilities to the pieces United could buy to line up another dominant MLS team.
The players constitute 3 midfielders, 3 wingers or forwards, and 2 defenders or, more specifically, left-backs. Meram is the only player on the list that could seemingly still be of some value to Atlanta United. He is a very talented footballer and has had some great moments for United. With a price tag of $678,754, it can be surmised that the bang simply wasn’t worth the buck. His output although good, wasn’t at the level of some of the other players on the team. The same could be said for Florentin Pogba. Although he will be missed for his name as well as his skill, as he played quite well throughout most of the season this year. Still with the annual salary of $324,000 an argument could be made that given he only appeared in 13 games last season. Spending over a quarter of a million dollars per year does seem a bit too much.
Although Brek Shea is always a fan favorite where ever he goes, he too was making nearly a quarter-million a year at $225,000 annually. It was not a surprise to see his name on the out list. Kevin Kratz is also not a huge surprise seeing as he gets paid the same as Brek Shea. Hernandez also showed a lot of upsides, but simply did not see much time. His acquisition was relatively inexpensive at $140,000. Truthfully even Meram was not that big of a surprise. All of these players are talented footballers, however, as with any sport, the MLS is a business. After Atlanta’s 3rd year of dominance, it’s not surprising if you think dominance is for what they are striving for. It is. United has a brilliant front office and no one in the world will tell you differently. To do what United has done in the short time that the team has been in the MLS is a pretty spectacular achievement.
Now Atlanta has almost 2 Million dollars to spend and has kept our core players except for Darlington Nagbe, which still hurts because he was such a dominant midfield player and fan favorite. It would be logical to surmise that Atlanta will strengthen the midfield in one way or another. Although with the wingback set up we could very well grab a defender as well. After looking through the different names there is no way to tell for certainty right now. After some research, a list of possible prospects should be relatively easy. Either way the moves United made seem like they are completely going with club standards and how the front office does business. Much like Mr. Arthur Blank the club uses there funds by value, and will surely get some great players as replacements.