Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Julian Gressel sets another Atlanta United record

Julian Gressel continues to set records with Atlanta United.

One game after becoming the first player on the team to reach 100 appearances in a win against Houston on Wednesday, he broke Miguel Almiron’s team record for assists (29) in Sunday’s 2-0 win against D.C. United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It took Almiron 62 games to set the previous record.

“It just means that we score goals, and that is obviously encouraging,” Gressel said. “It is something that obviously makes me proud a little bit. It took me a little longer than Miggy, but similar to the 100 appearances, coming in as a draft pick and contributing right away, I am just proud of it and hope to continue it. There is always that next one, and hopefully, we can get that sooner rather than later.”

The record-breaker came on Sunday’s winning goal scored by Pity Martinez. Gressel, about 15 yards from midfield, split two D.C. United defenders with a pass to the top of the penalty box to Darlington Nagbe. Nagbe raced to the end line and lobbed a cross to an onrushing Pity Martinez to head into the goal in the 89th minute.

It was a relatively simple pass from Gressel and different than the curling right-footed crosses that he typically hits with relative success, almost always to Josef Martinez.

But it displayed the versatility that the 25-year old has shown since being drafted by Atlanta United with the eighth pick in the first round of the 2017 SuperDraft.

“He has that energy, that motor in him that he always can go up and down the sidelines and make those runs,” Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer said. “What his quality is, he is always looking for that man who is free on the first or second post. His first touch is always quite look, and he can then have a look up and make his choices.”

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