The 3 Best Designated Player Cores In MLS(Part 3: Atlanta United)

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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)

Club GP G A SHTS SOG FC FS OFF CK PKG PKA
Atlanta United 22 42 39 255 108 278 276 47 99 1 1
Chicago Fire 22 44 46 264 112 262 289 66 97 4 5
Colorado Rapids 21 22 30 196 66 304 213 38 66 1 1
Columbus Crew SC 24 34 33 287 97 258 277 49 124 3 3
D.C. United 23 19 15 270 95 301 278 47 113 2 4
FC Dallas 21 33 35 283 101 243 226 39 117 1 1
Houston Dynamo 23 39 32 299 116 286 242 29 115 5 6
LA Galaxy 22 32 25 277 92 284 259 28 113 4 4
Minnesota United 23 29 22 230 89 239 298 42 92 2 3
Montreal Impact 21 32 26 252 91 311 233 50 84 3 3
New England Revolution 22 37 39 289 106 281 273 35 128 4 4
New York City FC 23 43 44 333 129 315 319 53 123 4 5
New York Red Bulls 22 34 37 299 108 322 337 42 123 3 3
Orlando City SC 23 24 27 263 90 283 324 30 109 0 1
Philadelphia Union 23 32 28 260 101 298 289 35 108 5 7
Portland Timbers 24 42 39 337 110 346 282 56 121 6 7
Real Salt Lake 24 30 25 367 121 318 276 44 153 3 3
San Jose Earthquakes 23 26 28 299 89 242 281 48 111 0 0
Seattle Sounders FC 23 36 38 316 94 224 330 43 127 2 3
Sporting Kansas City 23 29 22 334 114 250 298 50 117 2 2
Toronto FC 23 42 39 291 107 263 289 24 102 6 9
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 21 32 27 256 83 249 268 37 104 2 5

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.

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.

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.

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