Predicting Atlanta United’s roster moves

Atlanta United Vice President Carlos Bocanegra was scheduled to start meeting with the MLS team’s players and their reps this week to discuss contract options for the 2023 season.

The team reconvened Monday to begin training. It will continue for the next three weeks before heading into the offseason.

The MLS trade window is open Nov. 7-9. Teams have to make offers on players with options Nov. 14. Free agency opens Nov. 16. Atlanta United is exempt from having to expose players in the expansion draft in December.

ExploreMore AJC coverage of Atlanta United

The players are organized by salary (annual followed by guaranteed pay), from highest guaranteed to lowest, with my take on what the team may do.

Luiz Araujo – $3,600,000/$4,480,333: He didn’t produce enough (four goals, six assists) based upon the expectations of his tag as a Designated Player, as well as his salary. But it was his first full season in MLS, and he showed potential. He said he wants to return. I think the team won’t trade or sell him.

Josef Martinez – $3,750,000/$4,141,667: He led the team with nine goals, but is reportedly not in the club’s plans for 2023. His contract is through the 2023 season, with an option for 2024. It may be difficult to trade him or sell him because of his salary and recent injury history, which includes three surgeries or procedures on his right knee in the past two years.

Thiago Almada – $1,650,000/$2,332‚000: The only way the team transfers the MLS Newcomer of the Year is if it receives a generous offer. Almada said he hasn’t spoken with his agent about any potential interest, but did say his agent is good at his job. Bocanegra said he expects that Almada will one day play for a Champions League club. His value has decreased, according to transfermarkt.com.

ExploreAtlanta United’s Thiago Almada named MLS Newcomer of the Year

Ezequiel Barco – $2,200,000/$2,200,000: He spent the past season on loan at River Plate. The loan extends another season. It is unlikely that the team will recall him because all of its DP slots are filled, and Barco didn’t produce as expected when he was with the club from 2018-21.

Miles Robinson – $700,000/$737,500: He is recovering from a ruptured Achilles suffered early last season. His future is still very bright. He would have been called into the U.S. men’s national team for the coming World Cup in Qatar had he not suffered his injury. He almost certainly will remain with the club.

Alan Franco – $540,000/$667,500: Here is where things could get tricky. The club has a history of unexpectedly loaning, trading or transferring defenders such as Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Franco Escobar and Fernando Meza. The club has many talented centerbacks, such as Robinson, George Campbell, JuanJo Purata, as well as Homegrown signees Bryce Washington and Noah Cobb. After a rough start, Franco became the team’s most consistent centerback last season. But his salary, compared with others, may mean the team will move him. I think that he likely will be moved.

Matheus Rossetto – $550,000/$662,500: Another tricky one. Rossetto is a high-priced player who has performed well enough and is valued enough to serve as the team’s captain several times, but statistically he doesn’t seem to do any one thing particularly well. He has only one assist since joining the team in 2020. He is under contract for 2023, with an option for 2024. Because of his salary, I think the club will try to move him if it can find a taker. He has a work visa, so moving him won’t free an International slot.

Emerson Hyndman – $657,143/$657,143: The theme continues. When he’s healthy, Hyndman provides the quick passing and late runs into the penalty box that work well within Pineda’s system. But he made only nine appearances last season. A quad injury suffered late in the season sidelined him. I think the club will try to move him if it can find a taker.

Santiago Sosa – $525,000/$643,100: Another player with a lot of potential. He will return next season.

Marcelino Moreno – $460,000/$568,333: He was a sub or did not play in the team’s last nine games. He will want to be traded or transferred, or the team will attempt to trade him or transfer him. He’s a good player but just isn’t a fit in Pineda’s pass-and-move system. Moving him would open an International roster slot.

Erik Lopez – $360,000/$528,300: He was loaned for one season to Banfield in Argentina, where he rarely played. It seems unlikely that he will return to the club, which may exercise a buyout of his contract if it can’t find a taker.

Franco Ibarra – $450,000/$520,000: The team sees him as a central midfielder, but his lack of quickness makes it seem more likely that his future is as a defensive midfielder. An issue for the club is it has many central midfielders on the roster for next season. I think he will remain with the club.

Brooks Lennon – $500,000/$500,000: The club has an option on his contract for the 2023 season. If not exercised, he can become a free agent. A proven chance-creator who has played three seasons for the club without a consistent striker, which is among the reasons he doesn’t have more assists (seven last season). He will remain with the club.

JuanJo Purata – $400,000/$483,500: On loan from Tigres in LIGA MX, Atlanta United has an option on his contract for 2023. He has said he wants to return. He scored six goals last season. The club will exercise the option if it decides to move Franco. If it doesn’t, the club won’t exercise the option.

Brad Guzan – $445,716/$458,216: The goalkeeper and team captain suffered a ruptured Achilles that limited him to seven appearances. His rehab is on track, and he is expected to be with the team next season. It is believed to be the final year of his contract. He will remain with the team.

Edwin Mosquera – $300,000/$337,000: The winger signed in the summer window and showed potential but not results. He will remain with the team.

Andrew Gutman – $300,000/$331,250: The fullback/centerback/striker became a fan favorite because of his aggressiveness on offense and defense. He will remain with the club.

Ronald Hernandez – $300,000/$300,000: He has served mostly as a backup with a few spot starts. The team also has Aiden McFadden, who is a much cheaper backup. Moving him would open an International slot. I think the club will try to move him.

Raúl Gudiño – $200,000/$247,333: The team has an option for him for next season. It also has Dylan Castanheira, who is recovering from an Achilles rupture, and Homegrown signee Justin Garces. Declining Gudino’s option would free an International slot. I think the club will decline his option.

Ronaldo Cisneros – $244,000/$244,000: Another on-loan player, this time from Chivas. He scored seven goals last season. He became Pineda’s preferred striker, but if the team moves Martinez, it likely will move to sign another striker, meaning either Cisneros or Dom Dwyer are expendable. I think the team declines his option. It also will open an International slot.

Rocco Rios-Novo – $108,000/$115,530: On loan from Lanus, he became the starter for 15 games, finishing with a save percentage of .597. He is great with his feet. I think the club declines his option. It also will open an International slot.

Tyler Wolff – $110,000/$114,500: This will be interesting. The Homegrown signee made five appearances, including four starts, at the start of the season and then wasn’t used again. He was sent on loan to a second-division club in Belgium. The club will retain him, I think.

George Campbell – $98,000/$98,000: The Homegrown signee made 20 appearances, including 16 starts. He will return to the club.

Mikey Ambrose – $85,444/$85,444: He is out of contract at season’s end. It seems unlikely that he will be brought back.

Dylan Castanheira – $85,444/$85,444: He suffered a ruptured Achilles during training early in the season. If there is an option on his contract, it seems unlikely that it will be exercised.

Alex De John – $85,444/$85,444: He became a spot starter after injuries weakened the lineup. He then either didn’t play or wasn’t selected for the game-day roster. His salary makes him an attractive depth piece. If there is an option, the club picks it up.

Amar Sejdic – $85,444/$85,444: Next to Almada, probably the most consistent midfielder in 23 appearances and one who showed that he can execute the quick passing Pineda likes. He is out of a contract, but his salary makes him a bargain. I think the club will try to re-sign him.

Osvaldo Alonso – $84,000/$84,000: He suffered a torn ACL that limited him to four appearances. The team wants him back.

Dom Dwyer – $84,000/$84,000: The team has an option on his contract. I think it will be exercised after he scored four goals this season.

More Homegrown signees and draft picks

Jackson Conway – $84,000/$84,000: He will return to the club.

Erik Centeno – $65,500/$75,276: He will return to the club.

Caleb Wiley – $65,500/$67,100: He will return to the club.

Machop Chol – $65,500/$65,500: He will return to the club.

Justin Garces – $65,500/$65,500: He will return to the club.

Aiden McFadden – $65,500/$65,500: He will return to the club.

Efrain Morales – $65,500/$65,500: He will return to the club.

Bryce Washington – $65,500/$65,500: He will return to the club.

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