Atlanta United released their end of season roster moves, including the decision to decline the 2018 contract options for seven players and not to re-sign two others. This will bring the roster to 22 players on January 1st, 2018. The Atlanta United roster that played so well as a unit this season won’t change much based on what the front office has done so far.
#ATLUTD announces year-end roster moves
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) November 20, 2017
Atlanta United Announces Roster Moves Ahead of 2018 Season
Atlanta exercised their options on five players. Those five include forward Romario Williams, midfielders Julian Gressel and Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu, defender Mikey Ambrose, and goalkeeper Alec Kann. Defender George Bello and forwards Lagos Kunga and Patrick Okonkwo will join Andrew Carleton and Chris Goslin as the team’s Homegrown Players starting on January 1st, 2018.
The team declined to pick up the options for goalkeeper Alex Tambakis, defenders Mark Bloom, Zach Loyd and Tyrone Mears, midfielder Harrison Heath, and forwards Kenwyne Jones and Jeffrey Otoo. Contracts that expired for goalkeeper Kyle Reynish and defender Bobby Boswell and were not renewed by the club.
You'll always be part of the 5-Stripe Family. Thank you ❤️🖤 pic.twitter.com/BDCsi42atM
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) November 21, 2017
Next Season’s Roster
Next year’s roster shapes up like this:
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan, Alec Kann
Defenders: Mikey Ambrose, Michael Parkhurst, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Miles Robinson, George Bello
Midfield: Miguel Almiron, Andrew Carleton, Carlos Carmona, Chris Goslin, Kevin Kratz, Chris McCann, Julian Gressel, Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu
Forwards: Josef Martinez, Jacob Peterson, Brandon Vazquez, Tito Villalba, Romario Williams, Lagos Kunga, Patrick Okonkwo
There aren’t really any surprises in who had their options picked up and who didn’t. It shouldn’t shock anyone that Gressel is returning after winning Rookie of the Year. All of the players released were either over 30 or didn’t produce or in some cases were both. I somewhat expected Tambakis to be brought back as he is only 24 years old and has performed decently for Charleston, but the club has two solid players in goal already.
However, the success, or lack thereof, during this off-season will come later on. The club will need to find a way to replace Anton Walkes and Greg Garza in the back. Both were on season-long loans this year. Garza was a star on the back line when he could stay healthy and Walkes added depth to the roster and provided a good source of energy late in games. If you take away both of them without a replacement, the Atlanta United defense will not be as good as it was this year.
Overall, there isn’t anything to complain about when it comes to the front office’s moves so far. Next season’s success will come down to what moves happen later on.