There have been so many incredible moments this Atlanta United season. Josef Martinez going off with his goal streak, Miles Robinson stepping up to a level far beyond his age, and of course Julian Gressel’s pinpoint passes. Gressel has been a breath of fresh air for not only Atlanta, but for the MLS in general. There are very few players in the world that can whip the ball in quite like Atlanta’s right winger. Many of the goals Martinez has scored have come from the foot of Gressel. Speaking to a Five Stripes fan yesterday he brought up the comparison of Kevin De Bruyne. The way the Belgian can place the ball within inches of where ever he aims is by far his best asset for his country and for Manchester City.
Something about Gressel is different. It has been something I have been trying to pin point all season long. Not only does he not seem from his physical stature that he would be able to evade defenders the way he does, but he has a very sneaky speed that often goes unnoticed even though the other team has watched countless of hours of film on him before they play. To add he has scored 4 goals this season for United, making him not just a danger from his filthy crosses, but also from his foot when he gets open space, which he seems to always possess. Gressel should be in the eye of Joachim Löw, and the rest of the German National players. Although they have incredible players such as Marco Rues, Mario Gotze, Muller, and of course Robben, I believe the talent he has demonstrated this year deserves at least a chance to compete on the international level during the next World Cup. Löw should at least allow him to play in a few friendly’s to see how he holds up on the Senior Squad.
The 25-year-old German impresses me for more reasons than just his pin point accuracy with corners and balls whipped in from the right. He carries the same burning desire for success as Josef Martinez does. He has a motor that seemingly does not stop. Those kinds of players meshed into a team like United is what has brought this team the success they are having in the latter part of the season. It certainly is not just those two players. It seems that FDB despite all of the criticism at the beginning of the season, has not only gotten his team to play his style as one unit, but also has gotten the men to come together for the greater good. To win another MLS Championship, or any other Cup game that United play. This collective of players is an extremely special one. Every professional team has players with egos, or selfish players. Atlanta seems to not have much of that if any. They play with a stark professionalism game in and game out, and if The Five Stripes can continue like this, it would be hard to not see another MLS Cup in their future. There would be nothing greater for this great city which we all love to bring home back-to-back MLS Cups.
The stage is set, and the players are clearly ready and up for the challenge. Now it’s time to see how OUR city and OUR team show the rest of the league that soccer now lies in the heart of Dixie.