Just one other MLS team has gotten more goals from its Designated Players than Atlanta United this season.
With three goals in last week’s 3-1 win against NYCFC — two by Miguel Almiron and another by Hector Villalba — the total scored by those two and Josef Martinez, the team’s third and final DP signing, Atlanta United has gotten 17 goals and eight assists from its highest-paid players. As a team, Atlanta United ranks second in MLS in goals scored (24) despite taking the second fewest shots (123).
“We are very happy with how they are playing,” Atlanta United Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said.
Chicago’s three DPs, David Accam, Nemanja Nikolic and Bastian Schweinsteiger, have combined to score 20 goals and contribute five assists in the team’s 13 games this season. With their firepower, Chicago is in second place in the East with 24 points and has won four consecutive games.
Atlanta United’s goals have come in 12 games, with all of Martinez’s five-goal contribution coming in the season’s first three games. The 24-year-old, signed by Atlanta United from Torino in Italy in the offseason, suffered a thigh injury while playing with the Venezuelan national team in March and just last week resumed training with his club teammates.
Also of interest, Chicago’s three Designated Players have guaranteed salaries of $8.1 million in 2017 compared with Atlanta United’s $4.1 million, according to salaries provided by the players union.
Despite Martinez’s lengthy absence, Atlanta United has maintained a grip on its season and has a draw and two wins, while scoring eight goals in total, in its past three games with Villalba moving from midfield to striker. The team will play at Vancouver on Saturday.
Only in the past two games has Almiron surpassed Martinez as…