Atlanta United coach Gonzalo Pineda teases incoming transfers | MLSSoccer.com
Atlanta United, over the last month, have completed a steady stream of outgoing moves.
Center back George Campbell got traded to CF Montréal. Two more players, center back Alan Franco (transfer to São Paulo) and midfielder Marcelino Moreno (loan to Coritiba), left for Brazilian teams. Forward Dom Dwyer exited via waivers. And injury-stricken midfielder Emerson Hyndman reached a mutual contract termination.
Stretch things back to Nov. 14, the final day teams could file roster decisions after the 2022 campaign, and a dozen players have exited the Five Stripes from last year’s squad that finished 11th in the Eastern Conference table and missed the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
There may soon be news on the incoming front, though, according to head coach Gonzalo Pineda. They’ve been clearing key salary cap space and roster slots.
“There might be at least three players coming and different positions,” Pineda said as preseason camp begins. “We know which ones, but we’ll be announcing that sooner.”
Pineda withheld details, yet one clear area of need is striker. The Five Stripes have homegrown Jackson Conway, who’s light on first-team experience (one goal in 11 appearances), but options are scarce beyond the 21-year-old.
“Hopefully we can have news sooner rather than later,” Pineda said of needing a goalscorer. “That’s what the front office is working on at the moment.”
That urgency is also attributed to the Josef Martinez situation, where reports say the Designated Player will reach an offseason contract buyout with Atlanta and then join Inter Miami CF – a situation similar to last winter when Jozy Altidore left Toronto FC and signed for the New England Revolution.
Martinez, the 2018 Landon Donovan MLS MVP, faced a brief team suspension last year. He’s been training to the side out of what Pineda termed a “precaution.”
“As you have read probably, there are some things going on, and if a trade happens, we don’t want him to be in risk of injury or anything like that,” Pineda said of the Venezuelan international. “With that, we prefer to have him on the side training, just fitness to get him up to the standard that he should be.”
Martinez, with 98 goals and 16 assists in 134 games, has legendary status in Atlanta. He was one of their inaugural signings as a 2017 expansion team, and he’s still proven productive while fighting the lingering effects of a torn ACL from 2020.