“It’s tough for the kids down there,” Bocanegra said. “Hopefully we draft the person that has a chance to fit into our system. Then it’s up to them to come in and prove it.
“The great part is we have Atlanta United 2, as well, which is a big part of our club and an important piece to the puzzle.”
By using its scouting network to watch players on their college teams, where they are more comfortable, Atlanta United has an idea of how good the players in the pool are. Bocanegra said there are a few that fit the profile the team wants.
Then, the most important question, according to Bocanegra may be, “Are they athletic enough and fast enough to play for us? It’s really what we look at.”
Atlanta United did well answering that question in its first two drafts.
Its first year, when it had specific positions it hoped to fill, the team selected centerback Miles Robinson with the No. 2 pick in 2017, and then midfielder Julian Gressel at No. 8. Gressel was named the rookie of the year was a consistent contributor in the MLS Cup.
Robinson has played well in spot starts. He is expected to continue to develop and become a starter. The team also selected midfielder Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu. The team declined the option on his contract following the 2018 season.
Last year, the team selected striker Jon Gallagher at No. 14 and at No. 36 midfielder Oliver Shannon, who both played well for Atlanta United 2, and at No. 37 Gordon Wild, who played well while on loan with Charleston. In the fourth round, the team selected goalkeeper Paul Christensen, who made one appearance last season when Brad Guzan was shown a red card against Sporting KC. All but Shannon are still with the club.
MLS SuperDraft Order
2. San Jose
9. New England
11. New England
12. L.A. Galaxy
14. D.C. United
17. Real Salt Lake
21. Sporting KC
22. New York Red Bulls
24. Atlanta United