I have long argued that Atlanta United’s ability to find insanely good value has been as important - if not more so - than their ability to splash cash for superstars. If Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez is the axehead with which the Five Stripes cracked skulls open with, the TAM signings that liter the roster make up the long axe handle that generates the force that completes the weapon.
Atlanta found many of these gems such as Leandro Gonzalez Pirez or Franco Escobar in the offseason and they deserve as much credit for those moves as the multi-million dollar transactions but what they have done over the past two Summer windows deserves its own credit. Atlanta found a key cog in the title run last year and have rescued two gems that just needed a bit of polish.
Atlanta is a city of college football so let’s put it like this: to sustain a dynasty you can’t take a year off when it comes to recruiting. Drop the ball for a moment and things can fall apart. The phalanx of the organization requires no weak points. Atlanta has used the summer window to not only maintain the structure of the roster, but for the last two years they have improved it by bringing in key players. Let us take a look at a few of them.
The Bulldog of Banfield has been a wildly good acquisition for the Five Stripes since the moment he stepped on the field. Highlight tapes betrayed how much of a two way player he is capable which we missed seeing while he was busy showing off the destroying tendencies balanced with the ability to put an attacking player in his hip pocket for 90 minutes at a time. Hell, he did it for 180 minutes in the playoffs. Now he’s starting to come out of his shell in Frank de Boer’s system that is allowing him to join the attack sometimes. At just 24, Remedi could be in Atlanta for a while though he could be in line for a raise once his contract is up. The midfield is crowded going forward and whether he stays in that ‘holding’ role remains to be seen. The 2019 offseason is going to be absolutely wild and whether Atlanta’s front office sees Remedi as the kind of guy who can play the solo 6 role or not will be something to watch.
My role as the driver of the Justin Meram hype train is well chronicled. Meram improved year after year in Columbus before going to Orlando and seeing the wheels come off and the axles catch fire. After a combative half season in Orlando he made his way back to Columbus but never really got settled back to his old self.
So he was traded to Atlanta and entered what I assume is Darren Eales’ Lazarus Pit and has rediscovered his swagger. It’s not just the numbers that look good for Meram. When you watch him for the ball you see a player with a cockiness about him. He knows he’s going to win his duels. He knows you’re going to lose. And he knows that everyone is going to watch you lose. Meram, not unlike other players in Atlanta, benefits from not being the focus point and often finds his 1-on1 situations that he feasts on. Meram’s future remains to be seen and while it would be great to keep him I wouldn’t blame him for chasing a contract after this resurrection.
SCOTLAND STAND UP.
Ok now sit back down. Don’t hurt yourself.
Hyndman couldn’t find time in England, found time and success in Scotland for a spell and now looks like he’s pressure washing the rust off of the prospect that had American fans excited. Hyndman can slide into that box to box role without a problem at all, with the skill set to help cover a back line or make runs into the box in the attack as we saw against Club America. Atlanta has the enviable problem of too many good players and not enough positions on the field. Hyndman has made this problem that much worse. He’s still young. It’s easy to picture him lining up with Darlington Nagbe and bossing the midfield (or if you want to start that conversation, replacing Nagbe should the latter decide to move on.)
We are absolutely going to get at least one goal where a corner is cleared 20 yards out and Hyndman puts the ball through the net from outside the box. It’s written by the fates.
Mo hasn’t played much but he scored against LAFC and stuck a thorn in their paw for a bit and that tickled me.