De Boer said it’s possible that Nagbe could play with the first team in its next scrimmage at LAFC on Sunday.
De Boer has used a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 system in the first two scrimmages involving the first team. It’s a system similar to what previous manager Gerardo Martino used the previous two seasons. In either formation under Martino, Nagbe, who has an excellent first touch and is smart with the ball, was used in the center of the pitch as a bridge between the defense and offense. The team typically used a 3-5-2 when Nagbe was available. When he suffered an injury in May, Martino switched the formation to a 4-3-3 because he said they didn’t have Nagbe. During the playoffs and run to the MLS Cup, the team switched back to a 3-5-2.
Atlanta United acquired Nagbe in a trade with Portland in Dec. 2017. Atlanta United Vice President Carlos Bocanegra said that Nagbe was the team’s top target that offseason. The trade cost Atlanta United $750,000 in General Allocation Money, $300,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and an International spot.
In Nagbe’s 23 starts during the 2018 regular season, the team went 14-5-4. He was named to the 2018 MLS all-star team but missed the game due to injury.
Nagbe played in college at Akron under Caleb Porter. Nagbe was drafted by Portland 2011 and helped it win the MLS Cup in 2015 with Porter as coach. Porter and the club agreed to part ways following the 2017 season. He is now the coach of Columbus.