Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez (7) celebrates after he scored a goal in the second half during Eastern Conference semifinals of MLS playoffs at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Thursday, October 24, 2019. Atlanta United won 2-0 over the Philadelphia Union. (Hyosub Shin /

Atlanta United doesn’t have money to sign expensive striker

Atlanta United doesn’t have a lot of money to spend within the MLS salary cap should it find a striker that it likes to fill in for the injured Josef Martinez, according to Atlanta United Vice President Carlos Bocanegra.

Speaking on Thursday, Bocanegra said that while there is no replacing Martinez, who is recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee, the team has “very minimal amounts of money to go out and do that.”

Martinez has scored 77 goals in 84 league games and holds several MLS records. On the team’s roster are striker Adam Jahn, who started the second game in place of Martinez, and J.J. Williams.

“It’s more about getting help in the rotation and adding quality to what we have,” Bocanegra said.

But the team is looking.

Scouting is one area of operations that hasn’t been affected by the league-wide shutdown in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s one department that they are full go,” Bocanegra said. “There don’t need to be games going on right now because there are plenty of games that have taken place, plenty of targets in other leagues that we are exploring.”

Bocanegra said typically the team scouts from 20 leagues and several other competitions. With more time, the team has expanded its scope to analyze 10 more secondary leagues. Bocanegra didn’t specify the leagues or competitions. There are more than 40 domestic first-division leagues around the world.

Club President Darren Eales said earlier in the week that the club typically scouts from leagues that are of similar quality to MLS or players that they think would be a good fit with the team and league.

Bocanegra said there are more than 30,000 players because it’s a global game. He said the team has a five-step process it goes through to acquire a player. It takes at least two hours of analysis during the initial step in the process for a player to be passed onto the next stage.

Scouting includes salary analysis to see if the player will fit within the team’s cap, data analyses, film analyses and live analyses when possible. Bocanegra puts importance on personality and the cultural fit within the locker room and franchise, as well.

“A chance to  domore due diligence for targets this summer or the back end of the year,” Bocanegra said.

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