With their attack already assembled going into the draft, it’s clear that Atlanta’s primary goal was to fill the holes in their defense with their picks.
Round 1: Donny Toia – Defender, Montreal Impact
Toia is a 24 year-old fullback from the Montreal Impact who can play on both the left and right side of the defense. His versatility also comes with a good amount of experience, as he already has over 100 professional appearances for teams like Phoenix FC, Chivas USA, and Montreal.
Toia started 15 times for the Impact last season and averaged a solid 2.4 tackles and 2.1 interceptions per game. He also helped create chances in attack, having recorded two assists on the season and having averaged 0.9 key passes per game. Based on the numbers, it seems like Toia is an exciting, young player who can execute the duties of a modern fullback.
Round 2: Zach Loyd – Defender, FC Dallas
Loyd is another player that brings versatility to Atlanta’s back line. He started 10 times for FC Dallas last year, with 9 of his appearances coming at center-back and one of them coming at right-back. During his limited first team action, Loyd performed reasonably well, averaging 1.2 tackles, 3.5 interceptions, and 3.3 clearances per game.
Every defense needs a veteran presence, and with 180+ appearances for Dallas FC, Loyd is an excellent candidate to fulfill that role.
Round 3: Clint Irwin – Goalkeeper, Toronto FC
Irwin made 25 appearances for Toronto FC, and while he surely would be a solid member of Atlanta’s side, it seems like he already may be on his way back to Toronto. It makes sense, though. It was a little surprising that he was available given what Toronto traded away to bring him to the club.
Round 4: Mikey Ambrose – Defender, Orlando City
Another youth-minded selection from Atlanta. Ambrose is a left-back who has limited professional experience, but he’s only 23. He made five first-team appearances for Orlando City last season and has been involved in the United States National Team youth system.
Although he’s young and inexperienced, it’s clear that Atlanta see some potential in Ambrose.
Round 5: Alec Kann – Goalkeeper, Sporting Kansas City
Kann is a goalkeeper who has seen little first team action in his career. At 26, he has just 8 first team appearances in MLS and he hasn’t been involved at any level of the USMNT setup.
Rumors have been flying that Atlanta are interested in bringing in Brad Guzan. If that happens Kann will surely serve as a backup.
It’s hard to say that Atlanta robbed us of any picks, because each team so clearly had their own strategy going into the draft. As always, it will be interesting to see how these players turn out and how the teams that lost them cope.