Atlanta United has used the same core group in most of its games. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta United at midseason: Player review

Reviewing the players who have gotten consistent playing time for Atlanta United through its first 17 MLS games this season:

MIGUEL ALMIRON

Midfielder

Games played/starts: 17/15.

Key stat: He leads the team with eight goals and ranks second with six assists.

Comment: If Atlanta United is able to move up the standings, Almiron will be a reason why, and it may propel him into conversation for MVP.

YAMIL ASAD

Midfielder

Games played/starts: 15/15.

Key stat: Tied for the league lead in assists (9).

Comment: After a rough start that included a red card in one game and then a vicious elbow in another, Asad has proved to be another strong signing. He is tireless on the wing and tenacious in the press. Will be interesting to see if his loan is turned into a permanent signing.

MARK BLOOM

Fullback

Games played/starts: 2/2.

Key stat: Proved his versatility, which could be key, by playing three positions in one U.S. Open Cup game.

Comment: A dependable spot-starter and sub.

CARLOS CARMONA

Holding midfielder

Games played/starts: 15/14.

Key stat: No-nonsense player already has accumulated five yellow cards.

Comment: While Larentowicz is physical, Carmona is PHYSICAL, and also a good passer. He was a shrewd purchase.

GREG GARZA

Left fullback

Games played/starts: 16/16.

Key stat: Has one goal, but also just one assist.

Comment: He gets up and down the wing and has fantastic technical ability. That he and Mears have combined for just two assists is curious.

LEANDRO GONZALEZ PIREZ

Centerhalf

Games played/starts: 17/17.

Key stat: He and Parkhurst have started each of the 17 league games.

Comment: When he’s on, he is very good and arguably among the league’s best. When he’s having a bad day, such as at Vancouver, he is … not among the league’s best.

JULIAN GRESSEL

Midfielder

Games played/starts: 17/15.

Key stat: Has three goals and five assists.

Comment: The favorite for rookie of the year has played four positions (defensive midfielder, attacking midfielder, right midfielder and a cameo at striker) this season.

KENWYNE JONES

Striker

Games played/starts: 12/4.

Key stat: His two goals came in two of his starts. He has missed the past few games because of an injury.

Comment: Bought before Martino was hired, Jones’ skills aren’t a perfect fit for the system. Still, he will be an asset late in games and late in the season.

ALEC KANN

Goalkeeper

Games played/starts: 17/17.

Key stat: Has a goals-against average of 1.47.

Comment: His 55 saves rank seventh in the league, and he has kept the team in games with numerous big saves. He’s had, at most, three poor moments. That’s not bad considering the specter of Brad Guzan that has been hovering over him throughout the season.

KEVIN KRATZ

Midfielder

Games played/starts: 10/2.

Key stat: He has become one of the first players off the bench for manager Gerardo Martino because of his versatility, hence his eight appearances as a sub.

Comment: He has turned into one of the first players off the bench for Martino. A very smart player who is very good at free kicks.

JEFF LARENTOWICZ

Holding midfielder

Games played/starts: 16/14.

Key stat: Has proved himself indispensable with nine consecutive starts to finish season’s first half.

Comment: He may be playing the best soccer in his career, which is why Martino keeps saying he wants to rest him, but keeps playing him. He’s vocal and physical.

JOSEF MARTINEZ

Striker

Games played/starts: 7/4.

Key stat: His seven goals have come on just 12 shots on goal.

Comment: If not for an injury that robbed him of 10 games, he likely would rank among the league leaders in goals scored.

CHRIS MCCANN

Midfielder

Games played/starts: 10/1.

Key stat: No goals or assists, but not a lot of opportunities.

Comment: Has a accurate left foot, just needs to find a position in Martino’s system.

TYRONE MEARS

Right fullback

Games played/starts: 15/15.

Key stat: His one assist came on the season’s first goal.

Comment: He hasn’t been as effective going forward as he was at the beginning of the season, but is still a very solid fullback and likely will remain the starter.

MICHAEL PARKHURST

Centerhalf

Games played/starts: 17/17.

Key stat: His 1,518 minutes are tied for the team lead.

Comment: The team’s captain has been criticized for performances in the final games in the season’s first half. He may not be as quick as he once was, but still reads the game very well.

BRANDON VAZQUEZ

Striker/midfielder

Games played/starts: 6/0.

Key stat: Has one goal and one assist in just 82 minutes of total game time.

Comment: Is becoming an offensive spark with good shifts in recent games at D.C. United and against Columbus.

HECTOR VILLALBA

Midfielder/Striker

Games played/starts: 17/17.

Key stat: Third on the team with six goals and fourth with four assists.

Comment: Tends to run hot and cold in games, but his speed is undeniable. Would like to see him take on defenders more frequently.

ANTON WALKES

Defender

Games played/starts: 4/1.

Key stat: Has already played two positions in defense: centerhalf and right fullback.

Comment: Is gaining Martino’s trust and likely will be used more as schedule grows more condensed.

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