On the second day of preseason, Steven Goff of the Washington Post reports (and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution corroborates) that D.C. United is making a major move to acquire Julian Gressel from Atlanta United. According to Goff’s report, United and Atlanta have been talking for ten days, and Gressel (whose contract paid him a guaranteed $133,000 in 2019) is close to signing a multiyear deal in the neighborhood of $700,000 per season.
Gressel, who turned 26 last month, has registered 15 goals and 35 assists in his first three pro seasons for a loaded Atlanta squad. Upon further review, those numbers are doubly impressive when you consider that since 2011 there are only 13 players who have registered 11 or more direct assists from open play (as opposed to secondary assists, which MLS also counts) in a season. Only three players of that group have done it multiple times: Gressel, Landon Donovan, and Michael Barrios.
Though born in Germany, Gressel received his green card in 2019 and would count as a domestic player for MLS roster purposes.