Atlanta United added Brooks Lennon via trade with Real Salt Lake.
Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

How might Atlanta United use Lennon?

Now that Atlanta United has Brooks Lennon, how might manager Frank de Boer use the versatile player? 

First, to clear up what are some misconceptions about the Lennon acquisition that popped up on social media: Trading with Real Salt Lake for Lennon affects neither Julian Gressel nor the possible signing of Justin Meram. 

Regarding Gressel, his contract expires after the 2020 season. That’s also when Lennon’s contract expires, according to transfermarkt.us. Gressel has played six different positions while with Atlanta United. He will find a home in the lineup. 

Regarding Meram, he plays on the left and is a free agent. Lennon plays on the right and was picked up in a trade. MLS teams can sign as many as two MLS free agents each offseason. Atlanta United still has two signings it can make. 

Lennon became Real Salt Lake’s first-choice starter at right back most of last season. He can also play as a wingback or an attacker. 

Here are several lineup combinations, using existing personnel, in which Lennon could be used: 

3-4-2-1

GK: Guzan 
CB: Escobar 
CB: Robinson 
CB: Gonzalez-Pirez 
RWB: Lennon 
LWB: Bello 
DM: Remedi 
DM: Gressel 
M: Barco 
M: P. Martinez 
S: J. Martinez 

-

4-5-1

GK: Guzan 
RB: Lennon 
CB: Robinson 
CB: Gonzalez-Pirez 
LB: Bello 
DM: Remedi 
CM: Barco 
CM: P. Martinez 
RWM: Gressel 
LWM: Villalba 
S: J. Martinez 

-

4-3-3

GK: Guzan 
RB: Lennon 
CB: Robinson 
CB: Gonzalez-Pirez 
LB: Bello 
DM: Remedi 
M: Gressel 
M: P Martinez 
RS: Barco 
LS: Villalba
S: J. Martinez 

-

4-4-1-1

GK: Guzan
RB: Escobar
CB: Robinson
CB: Gonzalez-Pirez
LB: Bello
DM: Remedi
M: Gressel
RWM: Lennon
LWM: Barco
S: P. Martinez
S: J. Martinez

Some of you have said that you don’t like Gressel playing in the middle. I think, if given proper time to train, Gressel will succeed whatever the position. He said he can see himself moving into the middle into the position once held by Darlington Nagbe. He’s not the same player as Nagbe. Nobody in MLS is. But again, Gressel could do the job if given time to train. 

You will notice that I put Barco in that position in one formation. I think the idea is intriguing. Barco showed last year an ability to get the ball, turn, and get up the field quickly. That may remind you of another player Atlanta United had in its first two years. He is good in tight spaces. He is good with the ball at his feet. He is crafty.

What do you think?

Share your lineup ideas with me at droberson@ajc.com.

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About the Author

Doug Roberson
Doug Roberson
Doug Roberson covers the Atlanta United and Major League Soccer.
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