Atlanta United receiving interest for No. 2 pick, targeting defensive DP

Atlanta United technical staff during Expansion Draft - 12/15/2016

CARSON, Calif. – Multiple teams have contacted Atlanta United FC about trading up for the second overall pick in Friday’s MLS SuperDraft, according to club president Darren Eales.

Eales told that Atlanta, who hold both the No. 2 and No. 8 picks in the draft, would be amenable to flipping the second pick for the right offer.

“We feel pretty good that we’ve got two in the top 10,” Eales told on Sunday at the adidas MLS Player Combine. “It’s interesting, I’ve come to the last two drafts now and everyone talks about the demise, but there’s still players that come out and contribute each year, that get some significant minutes. So we think that two in the top 10, they’re two good picks to have, but I think that especially as we get nearer to draft day we’ll get more concrete inquiries. At the moment it’s more sort of general, what are you thinking, but I think we feel pretty good with the two and the eight.”

Eales also addressed Atlanta’s vacant third Designated Player slot. He said the club plans to sign a third DP and that they’re currently looking at multiple defenders as candidates to fill the slot.  

“We’ve still got a DP spot available so that’s something that we’re going to look to fill,” he said. “We’ve got some irons in the fire in terms of defensive positions. I think in the next couple of weeks you’re going to see some activity.”

Eales declined to comment specifically on the reports connecting Atlanta with US national team goalkeeper Brad Guzan, but made a point to note that the club still have the No. 1 spot in the MLS allocation order. Atlanta passed on recent Chicago Fire acquisition Juninho, who returned to the league via allocation last month. If Guzan, who reportedly agreed to a deal to join Atlanta from English Premier League club Middlesbrough late in 2016, returns to MLS, he’d be subject to the allocation process.

“We’re not going to comment on any players that are under contract [with other clubs], but we’re still No. 1 in the allocation order,” he laughed. “So that’s something that we’ll deal with as and when anything comes up. And if any players were to be coming back, we’ll definitely give them serious consideration.”