By all accounts ATL Utd is off to a flying start. Eales and Bocanegra have done a bang up job putting together a roster to compete from day 1. That doesn’t mean they are without fault.
It’s tough to build a roster without a manager. What style of play will they prefer? How much will they rotate the squad? Do they prefer youth or experience? Tata Martino is an absolute home run . A few of the signings made before his announcement on September 27th can’t be called the same. Enter Chris McCann.
On July 6, 2016 Chris McCann was announced on a free transfer from Wigan Athletic. On the surface this seemed like a great, relatively savvy transfer. McCann brought a wealthy of experience playing a much higher level than most in the MLS. What could possibly go wrong?
After 10 matches played, most as a substitute to kill off games, I have come to the conclusion that a change needs to be made. Consider this, Chris McCann is guaranteed to make $568,000 this year. That’s a lot of guacamole, good for the 36th highest paid midfielder in all of MLS. Thank God the paperwork was done early to relieve McCann of taking up a valuable international slot or this could only be considered an unmitigated disaster.
You might be thinking I’m a bit harsh on McCann. After all, we are only half through the first season ever for ATL. Nah…I’ve seen enough to know McCann doesn’t fit the current system. He simply can’t match the physicality and speed of the MLS and ATL Utd. He looked out of his depth last night against a NASL team in Miami FC. For $568k!?!
Let’s put that into perspective compared to other players around the league. I’m not going to cherry pick absolute bargains or homegrown players making significantly less than McCann because that’s too easy and unrealistic. Just have a look at this list:
Credit to http://www.spotrac.com/mls/ for the numbers. Cool site that you should check out if you are into this kind of stuff.
Are we getting value for our money spent? Does a little used sub = $500k? Dax McCarty, Piatti, Nagbe, Chara, Molino…hell even Will Johnson would be a breath of fresh air for this team. We need depth in the midfield, and value for our money.
What to do from here? The transfer window opens up July 10th and runs through August 9th. Shipping McCann back to England on a free transfer would be ideal. I’m sure there would be a team willing to take him but would McCann accept such a deal. He only just moved his family to the States. Would the staff admit the mistake and move him so soon? Is there a landing spot in the MLS better suited? The answer is probably NO to all of the above but let’s pretend something like that happens….
Signing a big name to take his spot seems unlikely at this point. With the current roster construction it would have to be someone who wouldn’t take up an international spot. We just brought in Guzan with our top allocation spot so that route seems unlikely. My best guess is through a trade.
Speaking of Guzan, he’s officially with the team now and soon to take over for Kann. Kann has been solid, if not spectacular at times for ATL. Surely there is a team out there ready to take on his meager $70k salary.
The Columbus Crew have conceded 30 goals against and Zach Steffen is averaging 1.67 GA/G. Yes, they just brought him in but would they consider a change?
At Real Salt Lake, they experienced a taste of life after Nick Rimando when he went down with a hamstring injury. Back up Van Oekel looked to be made of swiss cheese in his brief stint in goal. Could Kann provide great depth? Rimando isn’t getting any younger. Would they be willing to part with Omar Holness in the process?
How about new boys Minnesota United? Bobby Shuttleworth is giving up 1.87 GA/G. Kann would be an upgrade here. San Cronin would provide ATL both a discount and depth although I wouldn’t be thrilled about the move and would trigger other roster changes.
As you can see, the options are limited and the most likely scenario has this roster staying relatively the same for the remainder of the year but it’s an expensive pill to swallow every time I watch a kid making $50k go flying by McCann.
Chris McCann, shape up or ship out.