“What we did well, we really listened to the team,” he said.
Bocanegra said he was pleased to see how the players and coaching staff adapted and that he was proud of how they dealt with challenges.
With a full year in MLS, which comes with challenges with travel and rules that are unique when compared with leagues around the world, de Boer said he is better equipped to succeed in 2020. He knows his players’ strengths. He knows his opponents. He knows the format of the Champions League, in which Atlanta United will again compete.
The nucleus of the roster should return. The team announced Thursday that it exercised contract options on midfielder Julian Gressel and centerback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, is trying to re-sign defensive midfielder Jeff Larentowicz, and that midfielders Pity Martinez and Ezequiel Barco should return. Also returning are centerback Miles Robinson, defender Franco Escobar, midfielder Eric Remedi and striker Josef Martinez.
“Let’s go to the next level,” de Boer said. “We will expect more from everybody if we want to get involved in CONCACAF and be champions of MLS.”