Atlanta United announced several rosters move today heading into the beginning of the preseason, which will start Monday.
The Five Stripes drafted Michigan State’s Patrick Nielsen with the No. 23 pick in the first round of the MLS Super Draft. Nielsen, a native from Denmark, is a defender that played for the Spartans the last two seasons.
The 23-year-old defender was named to the 2018 First Team All-Big Ten and the Second Team in 2019. Before playing for Michigan State, Nielsen played one year at the University of Cincinnati.
The second bit of news came shortly after when United announced the signing of defender Anton Walkes.
Walkes played for Atlanta during the inaugural season in 2017, in which he appeared in 20 matches and registered 17 starts. The England native scored two goals during his time in Atlanta.
“We’re excited to permanently welcome Anton back to the club,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement. “Anton is a versatile player who will immediately bolster our backline. He has spent the last two seasons developing his game in England against tough competition and now returns with tremendous experience. We know he fits well into the locker room and are happy to have him back.”
The 22-year-old defender was acquired permanently from Portsmouth FC for an undisclosed fee and will be added to the roster once his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and P-1 Visa is approved.
One last note, United announced that Jon Gallagher will remain on loan with Aberdeen FC until the end of its 2019-2020 season.
So far, Gallagher has appeared in 27 matches and has started in 16 of them. Aberdeen is currently is currently in fourth place of the Scottish League.
United also terminated Dion Pereira’s contract. Pereira arrived to Atlanta during the summer of 2019 from Premier League side Watford and played in 18 matches.
“After speaking with Dion, we agreed that this was the best solution as he expressed an interest in returning to England for personal reasons,” said Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra. “We thank Dion for his contributions to the club and wish him the best moving forward.”
At the moment, this is how the Five Stripe’s roster looks:
Goalkeepers (3): Brad Guzan, Alec Kann, Brendan Moore
Defenders (9): George Bello, George Campbell, Franco Escobar, Jon Gallagher*, Brooks Lennon, Patrick Nielsen**, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Miles Robinson, Anton Walkes
Midfielders (8): Mo Adams, Ezequiel Barco, Andrew Carleton, Luiz Fernando, Julian Gressel, Emerson Hyndman, Jeff Larentowicz, Eric Remedi
Forwards (4): Lagos Kunga, Josef Martinez, Pity Martinez, Tito Villalba
* – on loan with Aberdeen
** – unsigned SuperDraft pick