While the main Atlanta United news of the day was the signing of Ezequiel Barco, the MLS SuperDraft took place in Philadelphia. Last year, at the MLS SuperDraft, Atlanta United selected Miles Robinson with the second pick, future MLS Rookie of the Year Julian Gressel with the eighth pick, Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu in the third round and goalkeeper Alex Kapp in the fourth round. Atlanta United held the 14th overall pick as well as the 36th and 37th picks in this years draft.
1st Round, 14th pick: Jon Gallagher, Notre Dame (F)
With the 14th pick, Atlanta United selected Jon Gallagher who is an Ireland Native from Notre Dame (Ironic, right?). A forward, who entered the combine as a potential top 10 pick, had a poor combine which saw him drop out of the top 10 and fall to Atlanta United. Gallagher was second-team All-American in 2017, ACC offensive player of the year in 2016, and ACC All-Freshman team in 2016 while scoring 39 goals and notching 15 assists in his four years at Notre Dame. Gallagher is a dribble-first striker that loves to create his own chances. He is very good off the dribble with quick touches and can be very elusive. He also has a great ball striking ability but must diversify his game if he wants playing time with Atlanta United. I see him as a fringe player for Atlanta that will most likely start the season playing for Atlanta United 2. When asked about the pick, Carlos Bocanegra said they liked Gallagher’s versatility, intelligence and tactical sharpness. With Kenwyne Jones retiring, Gallagher could end up being Josef Martinez’s backup later in the season.
Check out his interview with his new teammate Julian Gressel below:
2nd Round, 36th Pick: Oliver Shannon, Clemson (MF)
Oliver Shannon, a Liverpool native, was picked by Atlanta United with their second pick. Shannon came to Clemson after playing for the Everton Youth Academy for 13 years and winning a Youth Premier League title with them. In his junior year at Clemson, Shannon was the captain and was named to the All-ACC First Team for scoring 4 goals and notching 5 assists, In his four years at Clemson, he was named to three All-ACC teams (first, second, and third) and scored 13 goals while notching 17 assists. For Clemson and Everton, Shannon mainly played a holding midfielder role. Shannon is an imposing player that does a lot of the dirty work for his teammates. He is basically a LGP in the midfield. He is the typical British-style hard-nosed enforcer but he needs to improve his ability to switch the ball from side to side and get his teammates out of pressure. I see him starting out at Atlanta United 2 but I think he could possibly get some time with Atlanta United in the open cup if he impresses in the USL.
3rd Round, 37th Pick: Gordon Wild (F)
Gordon Wild came up through the Mainz youth academy before going to USC Upstate and then Maryland. Wild is the player in this class that I’m most excited for. In terms of potential, I think Gordon Wild should’ve gone higher in this draft. He didn’t because he had a disappointing final year at Maryland in front of goal only scoring 5 goals and assisting 2. The year before as a sophomore, Wild was USC First Team All-American, USC First Team All-Midwest Region, Big Ten Conference Offensive Player of the Year. First Team All-Big Ten Conference, and Big Ten Conference Tournament Most Valuable Offensive Player while scoring 17 goals and assisting 5 in 21 games.
He has ability to find dangerous areas and be a poacher around goal, but can also create his own chances with savvy footwork and creative movements. One thing that he has been criticized is his selfish attitude and work ethic which won’t be tolerated by Tata. With Atlanta United already having an abundance of attackers I don’t expect him to get much playing time with the first team unless he improves his work ethic as well as his confidence.
None of the players Atlanta United drafted will be immediate starters but all 3 will get considerable minutes for Atlanta United 2 and will be able to develop their skills. I’m most excited for Gordon Wild and his goal scoring ability but all three have great potential. The reason I don’t give this draft a higher grade is that United have complicated their roster a little bit more by drafting three more players that require an international spot.