Guzan to Atlanta United officially done

Goalkeeper Brad Guzan tends the goal during practice. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)

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Goalkeeper Brad Guzan tends the goal during practice. (Photo By Helen H. Richardson/ The Denver Post)

A chance to add a player with experience on the U.S. men’s national team, in MLS and overseas was too much for Atlanta United to pass up in acquiring goalkeeper Brad Guzan, according to club president Darren Eales.

Guzan will join the MLS side from Middlesbrough this summer. Though he can train with the team as soon as the Premier League season ends, he can't play until the MLS transfer window opens on July 11. Atlanta United will have played more than 19 games, more than half of its 34 regular-season matchups, by the time Guzan can mind the net.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for us as a club,” Eales said.

Manager Gerardo Martino said that Guzan was desirable for the same reasons as Eales. While Guzan is good with his feet, it’s his skills as a shot-stopper that were wanted by Atlanta United.

Guzan signed a multi-year deal with financial terms that weren’t disclosed. He is a Targeted Allocation Money signing, which leaves Atlanta United with one Designated Player spot remaining. The amount of the transfer fee, or if there was one, also wasn’t disclosed.

Guzan has more than 50 appearances for the U.S. men’s national team and more than 150 appearances in the Premier League with Aston Villa, Hull City and Middlesbrough.

However, he has fallen behind Victor Valdez as the first-choice goalkeeper this season.

Just 32 years old, and with goalkeepers typically having a longer playing life than those in the field, Eales expects that Guzan can be an important piece of the club for years.

He will join a group of goalkeepers that as of now includes Alec Kann, acquired in the expansion draft, Alex Tambakis, the team’s first signing and Alex Kapp, selected in the fourth round of the SuperDraft. The team also has two goalies on trial during its ongoing training camp. Of the first three, only Kann has played in MLS and he has just eight appearances.

Without knowing manager Gerardo Martino’s preferred 11 for his starting lineup, there is at least the chance that Guzan could be one of a group of players that could make Atlanta United very strong and experienced up the middle. There is the possibility that Guzan (79 MLS appearances) could play behind central defenders Michael Parkhurst (215) and Zach Loyd (180), and defensive midfielder Jeff Larentowicz (324).

“We needed that blend of young, up-and-coming talent, but also need players that understand the league,” Eales said. Brad was someone that fits that bill and will be great for us as a building block as we come into the league.”

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