They join centerback George Campbell, another good player, on the “out” list of Atlanta United’s transactions.
“In,” so far, are winger Derrick Etienne and goalkeeper Quentin Westberg. They are two more good players (Etienne could end up being very good). Returning from loan is Tyler Wolff, who will be a good MLS payer.
The issue with the transactions, so far, is that this team needs more than good players. Atlanta United failed to make the playoffs last season for the second time in three years. There are many, many reasons why, and the list starts with the myriad injuries that destroyed chemistry and confidence.
The team has cleared more than $1 million from its budget with the sale of Franco, loan of Moreno and termination of Hyndman’s contract. It also has more Allocation Money coming in with the sale of Campbell to Montreal.
It is well-positioned to start adding needed difference-makers.
But, here is the team’s depth chart as I see it now, with the projected starter in bold. My chart includes players on the roster, even if it seems unlikely they will be with the team once the transfer window closes.
Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan. Quentin Westberg and Justin Garces are the back-ups.
Centerbacks: JuanJo Purata and Miles Robinson. Noah Cobb, a Homegrown signee, is a backup. Efrain Morales is the only other true centerback on the roster, and he still is very raw and will spend another season with Atlanta United 2. The team most certainly will look to strengthen this position.
Right fullback: Brooks Lennon. Ronald Hernandez and Aiden McFadden are the backups.
Left fullback: Andrew Gutman. Caleb Wiley is the backup.
Defensive midfielder: Santiago Sosa. Ozzie Alonso is the backup.
Central midfielder: Matheus Rossetto. Franco Ibarra and Ajani Fortune are the backups.
Attacking midfielder: Thiago Almada. Wolff is the backup. Look for the team to add more depth at this position.
Left wing: Etienne. Wiley, Edwin Mosquera and Erik Centeno are the backups.
Right wing: Luiz Araujo. Machop Chol and Erik Lopez are the backups. Lopez likely will go out on loan again.
Striker: Josef Martinez. It is unlikely that he will be on the roster at the end of January. Backups are Dom Dwyer and Jackson Conway.
Is this a team that can make the playoffs?
The roster remains very lopsided. There is a lot of experienced depth at some positions and very little at others. There remains lots of time for that to be remedied, though.
The team, right now, is counting on several players, notably Robinson and Guzan, to return from Achilles ruptures, and be in good form.
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Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule
Feb. 25 vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m.
March 4 vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.
March 11 at Charlotte FC, noon, Fox
March 18 vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.
March 25 at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
April 1 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.
April 8 at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.
April 15 at Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.
April 23 vs. Chicago Fire FC, 4:30 p.m., FS1
April 29 at Nashville SC, 1:30 p.m., Fox
May 6 at Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.
May 13 vs. Charlotte FC, 7:30 p.m.
May 17 vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m.
May 20 at Chicago Fire FC, 8:30 p.m.
May 27 at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.
May 31 vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m., FS1
June 3 at Los Angeles FC, 10:30 p.m.
June 10 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
June 21 vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.
June 24 at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.
July 2 vs. Philadelphia Union, 4 p.m., Fox
July 8 at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
July 12 at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.
July 15 vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m., FS1
Aug. 20 at Seattle Sounders, 10:30 p.m.
Aug. 26 vs. Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 30 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 2 at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Sept. 16 vs. Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7 vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21 at FC Cincinnati, TBA