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We’re finally wrapping up the countdown today as Atlanta United is one of the 3 best Designated Player cores in Major League Soccer. Atlanta has come out firing in their 1st season in MLS having scored 42 goals in the league, tied 3rd best along with the Portland Timbers and Toronto FC, who were previously on this list. (MLSsoccer.com)
|Columbus Crew SC||24||34||33||287||97||258||277|
|New England Revolution||22||37||39||289||106||281||273|
|New York City FC||23||43||44||333||129||315||319|
|New York Red Bulls||22||34||37||299||108||322||337|
|Orlando City SC||23||24||27||263||90||283||324|
|Real Salt Lake||24||30||25||367||121||318||276|
|San Jose Earthquakes||23||26||28||299||89||242||281|
|Seattle Sounders FC||23||36||38||316||94||224||330|
|Sporting Kansas City||23||29||22||334||114||250||298|
|Vancouver Whitecaps FC||21||32||27||256||83||249||268|
Due to the work of head coach Gerardo ” Tata ” Martino, owner Arthur Blank and technical director Carlos Bocanegra, ATL has changed the blueprint on how an expansion team should be formed in Major League Soccer and maybe changed the transfer strategies for teams in the league. Teams are now looking for young, bright talent instead of picking up really old players out of their prime. For the casual soccer fan or someone who does not know much about the league let’s take a look at the Five Stripes DP’s:
Hector ” Tito ” Villalba was Atlanta United’s first ever Designated Player signing for $3M. Even though he is inconsistent at times, Villalba is still a big part of Atlanta’s squad so far scoring 10 goals with 4 assists in 22 MLS appearances. As part of Atlanta United’s deep interest in South American talen, Villalba is a very exciting player and was worth the money.
Worth the wait.
— Major League Soccer🏆 (@MLS) July 22, 2017
Miguel Almiron was the next DP signing as he was signed for $8M last December. Having received offers from European clubs, the Paraguayan International signed for the expansion side. Based off his performance, the decision has been phenomenal for Almiron and Atlanta and he is becoming one of Major League Soccer’s best talents. Tallying 8 goals and 6 assists so far in MLS, the 23-year-old is Atlanta’s franchise player and if they manage to keep him, if is a very strong word here, Almiron will definitely take them far in the playoffs.
A Golden Spike for our 🔟
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) July 29, 2017
Okay, wrapping up the DP core is striker Josef Martinez. Martinez was on a season-long loan from Torino in February and just a month after, Atlanta permanently signed him for $3M and boy, was that a great decision from both sides. The Venezuelan has scored 9 goals in 9 appearances including scoring a hat-trick against fellow expansion club Minnesota United in March. Even though Martinez has had nagging injuries throughout the season, the 24-year-old is still a very valuable piece in Atlanta’s squad and is one of the best strikers in MLS.