What’s next for Atlanta United at striker?

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

With Josef Martinez off to Miami, Atlanta United Vice President Carlos Bocanegra said Wednesday that the team is looking for a striker to do all the things Martinez did, but not be the next Martinez.

Bocanegra said the next player wouldn’t be Martinez’s replacement, but that “we’re going to go look to get an impact player that can come in and lead the line, score goals and help our team.”

ExploreMore AJC coverage of Atlanta United

It would be improbable for the team to find the next Martinez, a player who scored more than 100 goals for the club since 2017. It might be impossible when factoring in that Bocanegra wouldn’t say if the next striker would have a Designated Player-level contract.

The club, owned by billionaire Arthur Blank, has spent a lot in buyouts for Martinez (around $2.5 million), Jurgen Damm (more than $1 million), Emerson Hyndman, and on loans for portions of salaries for Ezequiel Barco, Marcelino Moreno and Erik Lopez.

The only striker on Atlanta United’s roster is Jackson Conway, a Homegrown signee who has played 270 minutes in MLS.

Atlanta United has been tied to Celtic striker Giorgos Giakoumakis, who has 26 goals in 57 appearances for the Scottish club. LAFC striker Chicho Arango also is hopeful of receiving a better contract. Arango has scored 30 goals in 57 appearances for the MLS team. It’s likely neither player would require a DP contract.

Bocanegra said he thinks the core of the team is good, with Thiago Almada as the attacking midfielder, fullbacks Brooks Lennon and Andrew Gutman, a healthy Miles Robinson at centerback, Ozzie Alonso returning at defensive midfielder and Brad Guzan in goal.

“We hope for a big year,” Bocanegra said.

But the team needs goals. The team scored 48 in 34 games last season. Gone from that team are Martinez, who scored nine, Ronaldo Cisneros, who scored seven, Dom Dwyer, who scored four, Moreno, who scored two, and Jake Mulraney, who scored one. That’s almost 50% of the team’s goals.

“We’re going to bring in someone that is impactful, but I can’t rush into something that we don’t feel comfortable with,” Bocanegra said.

For more content about Atlanta United

Follow me on Twitter @DougRobersonAJC

On Facebook at Atlanta United News Now

On Instagram at DouglasDavidRoberson

Atlanta United coverage on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Southern Fried Soccer podcast can be found

Apple - https://apple.co/3ISD6Ve

Spotify - https://spoti.fi/3L8TN0C

Google podcasts - https://bit.ly/32KlZW3

If you are listening to us for the first time, please follow us on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast ... and if you like what you hear, please give us a good rating so we can grow the show. If you have questions about the MLS team, you can email Doug Roberson at droberson@ajc.com, DM him on Twitter @dougrobersonajc or call 770-810-5297.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a special offer for Atlanta United supporters and listeners to this podcast. If you subscribe today, you will not only get unlimited digital access to the AJC and the Sunday paper for $2.30 a week but we are also throwing in a special limited-edition Atlanta United and Atlanta Journal-Constitution scarf. So sign up now at subscribe.ajc.com/utdscarf.

Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule

Feb. 25 vs. San Jose Earthquakes, 7:30 p.m.

March 4 vs. Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.

March 11 at Charlotte FC, noon, Fox

March 18 vs. Portland Timbers, 7:30 p.m.

March 25 at Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

April 1 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

April 8 at New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

April 15 at Toronto FC, 7:30 p.m.

April 23 vs. Chicago Fire FC, 4:30 p.m., FS1

April 29 at Nashville SC, 1:30 p.m., Fox

May 6 at Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.

May 13 vs. Charlotte FC, 7:30 p.m.

May 17 vs. Colorado Rapids, 7:30 p.m.

May 20 at Chicago Fire FC, 8:30 p.m.

May 27 at Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m.

May 31 vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m., FS1

June 3 at Los Angeles FC, 10:30 p.m.

June 10 vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

June 21 vs. New York City FC, 7:30 p.m.

June 24 at New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m.

July 2 vs. Philadelphia Union, 4 p.m., Fox

July 8 at CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

July 12 at New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m.

July 15 vs. Orlando City SC, 7:30 p.m., FS1

Aug. 20 at Seattle Sounders, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 26 vs. Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 30 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 2 at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Sept. 16 vs. Inter Miami CF, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 20 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 7 vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 21 at FC Cincinnati, TBA