Which Atlanta United predictions did I get correct?

George Bello made 20 appearances, including 19 starts. He scored a goal and added an assist. He was one of few bright spots in a dismal season. (Atlanta United)
George Bello made 20 appearances, including 19 starts. He scored a goal and added an assist. He was one of few bright spots in a dismal season. (Atlanta United)

Prognosticatin' ain’t what it used to be.

I reviewed my predictions for Atlanta United, posted Jan. 2, ahead of the 2020 season that has felt like it has lasted two years.

I’m glad I didn’t have stars in my eyes in January before everything was turned upside down by COVID-19.

Let’s review:

The new away kit will be gold. Part of what I wrote: “It’s a white kit with gold trim. It’s plain. It’s, like most of Adidas’ designs, rather … blech.”

Yes, the new away kit was gold, but it had already been leaked.

It was ... plain.

The team is scheduled to change its primary kit for the 2021 season. Hopefully, it will go back to a top that has five stripes and only five stripes. It is, after all, the team’s nickname: Five Stripes.

The current kit, introduced ahead of the 2019 season, has a top with nine stripes. It was odd then and remains so to this day.

And if the team does unveil a new kit, let’s skip with the methodology behind the choices. I’m not sure too many people care if the sold gold buttons on the sleeve represent the city’s love of shiny things, for example.

Goodbye to the original Argentines. Part of what I wrote: “I think both players are fantastic. Imagine (Leandro) Gonzalez Pirez on LAFC. Imagine (Hector) Villalba playing on the wing for Minnesota or Seattle.”

Both players were sold: Gonzalez Pirez to Tijuana in Mexico and Villalba to Libertad in Paraguay.

Interestingly, Gonzalez Pirez did come back to MLS but not with LAFC, which needed him. Instead, he was bought by Miami, whose president, Paul McDonough, was with Atlanta United when Gonzalez Pirez was bought ahead of the 2017 season.

Gonzalez Pirez helped solidify a leaky back line, and Miami rallied to make the playoffs.

The next question may be will the team keep Franco Escobar and Eric Remedi, who came in the next wave of Argentines signed by the club.

Nashville forward Dominique Badji (from left) finds his path to the net blocked by Atlanta United defenders Eric Remedi, Fernando Meza, and Franco Escobar during the first half Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 in Atlanta.    (Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com)
Nashville forward Dominique Badji (from left) finds his path to the net blocked by Atlanta United defenders Eric Remedi, Fernando Meza, and Franco Escobar during the first half Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

George Bello is going to have a big year. Part of what I wrote: “The 17-year-old has all the tools: speed, technical ability, instincts. He just needs playing time. I think he’s going to get it this year, and it’s going to be fun to watch.”

Nailed it!

Bello made 20 appearances, including 19 starts. He scored a goal and added an assist. He was one of few bright spots in a dismal season.

His positioning on defense improved greatly during the season and his tackling was solid, taking 30 of 48 he attempted.

He’s going to be fun to watch next season.

Julian Gressel will play for Atlanta United. Part of what I wrote: “It’s a bit odd that the club and his agent haven’t reached an agreement on a new contract, though.”

Did not nail it.

Gressel was traded to D.C. United for $650,000 in Targeted Allocation Money in 2020, and $100,000 in TAM in 2021. There was $350,000 more in TAM if bonuses were reached. It’s going to be interesting to see if that gets paid out because Gressel scored only two goals with three assists, and D.C. United failed to make the playoffs.

The player acquired to try to fill in for Gressel, Brooks Lennon, played well for Atlanta United, with two goals and three assists in 23 appearances.

Pity Martinez is going to have a big Champions League. Part of what I wrote: “I think that he truly showed his talent in the season’s final quarter when he played simply and with more effort, and he will apply what he learned in this year’s Champions League.”

Nailed it.

Martinez assisted on Josef Martinez’s goal in the 1-1 draw in the first leg against Motagua and then scored two goals and added an assist in the decisive 3-0 win in the second leg against Motagua that pushed Atlanta United into the quarterfinals.

Martinez was the team’s lone positive in the 3-0 loss to Club America in the first leg of that series.

Atlanta United midfielder Pity Martinez scores his second goal of the night against Nashville during the second half for the 2-0 victory  Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com)
Atlanta United midfielder Pity Martinez scores his second goal of the night against Nashville during the second half for the 2-0 victory Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Atlanta United will sell two of its Designated Players. Part of what I wrote: “After the Champions League, during the summer transfer window and no matter where the team is in the standings, I think Atlanta United will sell Martinez and Ezequiel Barco, assuming he isn’t sold in January.”

Half-nailed it.

Martinez was sold to Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia in early September for a total believed to be close to $20 million.

The transfer ended Martinez’s time with the club with two trophies won, but more questions than answers. He finished with 11 goals and 14 assists in 54 appearances across all competitions.

It seems likely that Barco will be sold during the January transfer window. In three seasons, he has 11 goals and 11 assists in 77 appearances.

Like Martinez, Barco has had a few moments of brilliance surrounded by long stretches of average play.

Will Atlanta United win trophies? I think we know the answer to that.

Atlanta United's midfielder Emerson Hyndman (20) reacts at the end of 2-1 loss to D.C. United Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Atlanta United's midfielder Emerson Hyndman (20) reacts at the end of 2-1 loss to D.C. United Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

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