Ranking Atlanta United’s new players by my level of curiosity

Lisandro Lopez of Argentina's Racing Club, left, and Edison Penilla of Venezuela's Estudiantes de Merida battle for the ball during a Copa Libertadores soccer match March 5, 2020, in Merida, Venezuela. (Matias Delacroix/AP)
Lisandro Lopez of Argentina's Racing Club, left, and Edison Penilla of Venezuela's Estudiantes de Merida battle for the ball during a Copa Libertadores soccer match March 5, 2020, in Merida, Venezuela. (Matias Delacroix/AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Of the 30 players on Atlanta United’s roster for its 2020 season-finale at Columbus, 13 are no longer with the club.

The team has since added nine players through transfers, loans or Homegrown signings. There’s an expectation that at least one more is coming.

Here’s my ranking of the new players, signed and reportedly signed, on the team going into this season:

1. Lautaro Giannetti. The team has two centerbacks who have played in MLS, Miles Robinson (61 appearances) and Anton Walkes (37 appearances). Though the club hasn’t yet confirmed it has acquired Giannetti, it seems like it’s just a matter of time. Giannetti, 27, will be expected to step in and start, likely alongside Robinson. The team has still yet to find someone who played the position with the skill and passion of Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. Will Giannetti be the guy? They need him to be the guy.

2. Santiago Sosa. He is being penciled in as the starter ahead of Mo Adams, who is the only returning player at the position after the team elected not to sign Jeff Larentowicz and traded Eric Remedi. If he can replicate Remedi’s form from the summer of 2018, it will go a long way toward Atlanta United playing winning soccer.

3. Erik Lopez. He was signed by the club last year but wasn’t on the roster for the finale at Columbus because of the vagaries of MLS rules. He was eligible to play against Club America in the Champions League a month later and performed very well. He seems versatile enough to play across the midfield and could push Ezequiel Barco if his inconsistencies continue.

4. Lisandro Lopez. He may not play a lot if Josef Martinez is healthy but the legendary Argentinian striker is going to be expected to deliver when he gets on the field.

5. Franco Ibarra. A signing confirmed on Monday, he’s a player who could be impactful as a deep-lying midfielder. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t bounce between Atlanta United 2 and Atlanta United, if health protocols allow.

6. Ronald Hernandez. He will compete with Brooks Lennon and Chol for playing time. He is on loan from Aberdeen but it’s assumed that if he produces that loan is a loan in name only. I’m really curious to watch him play because I think he could become a very good player for the club.

7. Machop Chol. How can you not be excited to watch Chol? He’s big, fast and about as nice a guy as there is. I think it likely he will spend most of his time with Atlanta United 2.

8. Jackson Conway. It’s the guy who scored against Club America in the Champions League. How cool was that for the young man? But with Martinez, Lopez and Torres ahead of him, it’s likely he will spend most of the season with Atlanta United 2.

9. Efrain Morales. Morales is ranked this low only because it seems highly unlike that the Homegrown signing will play for Atlanta United this season with other more experienced plays ahead of him. Still, he’s got a lot of potential, otherwise Manchester United wouldn’t have invited him to come train there last year.

10. Mikey Ambrose. No offense to Ambrose, but it’s known what he can do because he played for the club from three seasons. He’s not flashy but can come in and do a job. He’s a good guy in the locker room, too.

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