It involved plenty of attacking play from a rather young lineup, it ended in a victory and Jon Gallagher found the back of the net. This time, he was only able to do so once as opposed to last year’s brace but more importantly he made as loud of a statement as one could expect when it comes to his position in the organization.
Gallagher, Atlanta’s first round draft pick in 2018, spent four years at Notre Dame where he racked up goals and awards like they were going out of style. He started his career as a professional on the wing with Atlanta United 2 in 2018 and eventually found himself in a wingback role in Scott Donnelly’s team. The movement around the lineup did not hurt Gallagher’s productivity as he lead the team with six goals and five assists.
The start of 2019 was more of the same for Gallagher as he terrorized a new Hartford team for most of the game before coming off for Will Vint. Gallagher gave up a shot to Brandon Vazquez, before Vazquez’s shot was partially blocked and fell to Gallagher’s feet and in his mind he was never going to miss.
“I’m a goalscorer at heart so once i was in front of goal I was 100% I would score,” said Gallagher.
Atlanta United’s injury woes have switched sides of the field as right wingback options have suffered tough injuries starting with playoff hero Franco Escobar and now Julian Gressel. Mikey Ambrose has spent the last two games at the right wingback role with Gordon Wild on the bench. Gallagher has not dressed out for those two games and Saturday night’s performance looked like a man who demanded attention.
Gallagher led the team with 3 created chances and put away his only shot of the night as he worked up and down the right side, combining repeatedly with academy product Jackson Conway. He was lethal getting forward and solid in defense in a role that requires plenty of fuel and a lot of responsibility.
Conway’s start was good to see for fans of players coming out of the academy and the stability that Gallagher offers certainly helped, according to new manager Stephen Glass.
“We just felt like Jackson could affect the game the way we wanted it to be effected,” said Glass. “Especially with the help of Jon Gallagher with the legs and the energy and quality he provides on that side.”
Despite a history as a striker he is more than willing to jump around and impact the game in different ways.
“Wherever (Head Coach Stephen Glass) wants to put me in the first team I’m happy just to do a job,” said Gallagher.
It is hard to argue with Saturday’s results, and if he keeps it up he may give the organization something to think about.