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Atlanta United trades for Julian Gressel
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DC United acquires Julian Gressel from Atlanta

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How much is Major League Soccer’s best assist man worth?

About $750,000.

DC United paid Atlanta United that fee in allocation money for the rights to Julian Gressel, who had been at a contract impasse with the club who drafted him in 2017.

That fee could hit $1.1 million in incentives, and even so could be a bargain.

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Gressel was due to make around $133,000 this season and wanted an improved deal from Atlanta given his massive production since becoming the eighth overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.

That salary is less than hundreds of players, most of them nowhere near Gressel’s impact. Nineteen Atlanta United players made more than him last season, so it’s understandable that the 26-year-old wanted to get paid.

We don’t know what he was asking, or why Atlanta wouldn’t get there. From MLSSoccer.com:

β€œIf we really wanted to, we could have had him play on $130,000 this season, extend him a bona fide offer at the end of the season and (we’d still own his MLS rights),” said Atlanta United vice president Carlos Bocanegra. “We’re also trying to do the right thing for a guy who has given so much to the club and is really just a good kid all around.”

It’s a weird one, given what the club’s been paying others.

Gressel arrived at Providence College from Eintracht Bamberg and immediately started delivering for the Big East side. He finished his four years with 30 goals and 26 assists and All-American status.

There was some adapting to MLS, but he’s gotten better with every season. He scored 10 goals with 13 assists in all competitions last season.

Chicago captures Ligue 1 striker Beric from Saint-Etienne

Chicago Fire signs new Designated Player
PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP via Getty Images
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The latest Designated Player in Major League Soccer toasted his new deal with a spicy shot of local flavor.

The Chicago Fire rolled out veteran Ligue 1 forward Robert Beric this weekend, the Slovenian tossing back a shot of Jeppson’s Malort as a part of the team’s announcement.

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Beric, 28, comes with a solid resume, scoring 34 times in 104 matches for Saint-Etienne since 2015/16. He spent time with Maribor, Rapid Vienna, Anderlecht, Sturm Graz, Interblok, and Krsko prior to that.

He only has one goal this season in 777 minutes, still getting plenty of run in Ligue 1. Head coach Raphael Wicky will hope he’s found a force. From Chicago-Fire.com:

“Robert is hard-working, intelligent number nine who has the ability to score goals at a high rate. We are looking forward to welcoming him and his family to Chicago.”

The 24-times capped Slovenian has been with the national team as recently as October. He’ll be tasked with picking up the scoring in the place of Nemanja Nikolic. The departing forward scored 56 times in three seasons with the Fire, but just 12 last season.

Sebastian Berhalter signs Homegrown deal with Columbus Crew

Columbus Crew signs Sebastian Berhalter
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The Columbus Crew have signed Sebastian Berhalter to a Homegrown Player deal.

The 19-year-old midfielder is the son of former Crew and current USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter.

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Sebastian played 17 times for the University of North Carolina as a freshman, starting nine of those games. He went 210 minutes in twin extra time matches to close UNC’s season.

Here’s Crew general manager Tim Bezbatchenko, via a team release:

“As a longtime member of the Crew SC Academy, Sebastian is someone who understands the values and ideology of our Club. We are happy to see him join the professional ranks after a successful year at the college level and look forward to his continued development with the Crew.”

Sebastian praised the role of his parents in his development in a video interview. Gregg was a UNC star in his college days before moving to Europe to play for PEC Zwolle, Crystal Palace, and Energie Cottbus amongst others.

“My parents have been very influential on my career,” said the player. “They’ve helped me so much. They’ve always stayed positive to me, but also pushed me in a good way and I cannot thank them enough.”

Sebastian repped the U.S. at the U-16 level. Could dad and he one day join Bob and Michael Bradley as father-son USMNT combos? That’s a long way off and presumes dad turns around the national team, but would be a remarkable achievement.

Hermann Trophy winner Robinson leads MLS SuperDraft picks

Hermann Trophy winner highlights MLS SuperDraft picks
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Clemson forward Robbie Robinson capped off a strong season by becoming the first draft pick for Inter Miami in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft on Thursday.

The 6-foot-2 Robinson scored 18 times with nine assists as a junior as Clemson went 18-2-2 before falling to Stanford in the NCAA quarterfinals. The Tigers had three players selected on Thursday.

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College players from 13 countries found professional homes by the end of the draft’s first two rounds.

Twenty-nine Americans were selected, with Canada and England boasting four each to finish joint-second. Senegal, Germany, Denmark, France, and Spain had two players selected, with Ireland, New Zealand, Nigeria, Brazil and Mexico each placing one on the board.

Round 1
1. Inter Miami – Robbie Robinson, Clemson
2. Nashville – Jack Maher, Indiana
3. Inter Miami – Dylan Nealis, Georgetown
4. Vancouver – Ryan Raposo, Syracuse
5. Orlando City – Daryl Dike, Virginia
6. New England – Henry Kessler, Virginia
7. Columbus – Miguel Berry, San Diego
8. Houston – Garrett McLaughlin, Southern Methodist
9. Montreal – Jeremy Kelly, North Carolina (traded to Montreal)
10. New York Red Bulls – Patrick Seagrist, Marquette
11. Nashville – Alistair Johnston, Wake Forest
12. San Jose – Tanner Bearson, Stanford
13. Nashville – Elliot Panicco, Charlotte
14. FC Dallas – Nkosi Burgess, Seattle
15. New York Red Bulls – Cherif Dieye, Louisville
16. Portland – Aaron Molloy, Penn State
17. FC Fallas – Cal Jennings, Central Florida
18. Minnesota – Noah Billingsley, UC Santa Barbara
19. Toronto FC – Nyall Higgins, Syracuse
20. Real Salt Lake – Dayonn Harris, UConn
21. DC United – Simon Lefebvre, Temple
22. NYCFC – Jesus Perez, UIC
23. Atlanta United – Patrick Nielsen, Michigan State
24. LAFC – Paulo Pita, Marshall
25. Toronto – Ifunanyachi Achara, Georgetown
26. Chicago – Jonathan Jimenez, Pacific

Round 2
27. San Jose – Jack Skahan, North Carolina
28. Nashville – Tanner Dieterich, Clemson
29. Cincinnati – Rey Ortiz, Portland
30. New England – Simon Lekressner, California
31. Orlando – Joey DeZart, Wake Forest
32. Vancouver – Daniel Gagliardi, FIU
33. Toronto – Malick Mbaye, Clemson
34. Houston – Luka Prpa, Marquette
35. Seattle – Danny Reynolds, Wilmington
36. New York Red Bulls – Wallis Lapsley, UC Davis
37. Colorado – Robin Afamefuna, Virginia
38. San Jose – Jon Bell, UMBC
39. Orlando – Jonathan Dean, Central Florida
40. Dallas – Manuel Ferriol, James Madison
41. New York Red Bulls – Deri Corfe, Wright State
42. DC United – Josh Fawole, Loyola
43. New England – Keegan Meyer, High Point
44. Orlando – Austin Aviza, Providence
45. LA Galaxy – Tom Smart, Akron
46. Real Salt Lake – Michael Wetungu, Michigan State
47. Columbus – Remi Prieur, Saint Mary’s
48. NYCFC – Felicien Dumas, Notre Dame
49. Columbus – Danny Griffin, Providence
50. LAFC – Jack Hallahan, Michigan
51. Toronto – Simon Waever, Indiana
52. Seattle – Timo Mehlich, UNLV

FC Cincinnati signs Japanese international as new Designated Player

FC Cincinnati signs new Designated Playerr
Photo by Vincent Van Doornick/Isosport/MB Media/Getty Images
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FC Cincinnati has its man, signing Yuya Kubo as a Designated Player from KAA Gent in Belgium.

Kubo, 26, scored 25 times with six assists in 73 matches for Gent, a tenure broken up by a six-month loan to Bundesliga side Nurnberg.

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He scored once in 23 matches for the German club, and has been effective in both the Europa League and Champions League qualifying. Kubo got his start in Europe with Swiss powers Young Boys.

Kubo also has two goals in 13 caps for Japan, though he’s not been capped since March 2018.

From FCCincinnati.com:

“We are delighted to add a proven offensive player in the form of Yuya Kubo to our roster,” FC Cincinnati general manager Gerard Nijkamp said. “We’ve made it a priority to bring impact players to Cincinnati and we believe Yuya’s versatility as an attacking player will be a great addition to our current group.”

Kubo plays as a striker and an attacking mid and joins a Cincinnati attack with no sure things but plenty of intrigue.

Cincy has Kekuta Manneh, Darren Mattocks, Brandon Vazquez, Fanendo Adi, Joe Gyau, and Frankie Amaya operate in playmaking midfield positions.