Atlanta United goalkeeper and club captain Brad Guzan may have played his final game for the Five Stripes following their MLS Cup playoffs exit to Columbus Crew.
Guzan has become a club legend in the eyes of many supporters of the Five Stripes, leading them to MLS Cup glory in 2018 as well as the 2019 US Open Cup title. But with his regression and Atlanta’s poor defense in 2023, it may be time for Atlanta to rip off the band-aid and move on from their veteran shot-stopper.
The 39-year-old’s contract is set to run out at the end of the year, but according to the club’s website, Atlanta appears to have club options to extend his stay in 2024 and 2025.
“You know, that’s something we will analyze and talk about,” Guzan said of his future after the game three defeat. “That’s not something I’m thinking about right now. These moments are never easy as players. You sacrifice a lot. You put a lot into the group, into the team. And when it finishes like this, it’s never easy. We will certainly take a moment to reflect and have conversations and go from there.”
Guzan is coming off a season where he kept only seven clean sheets and amassed a save percentage of just 61%. But he believes one reason for Atlanta’s drop-off in defensive performance could be the way they setup.
“I think when you play the way that we do, obviously at times we are exposed, we are open at the back,” said Guzan. “I don’t know exactly right now what the magic answer is. I said after the last game that we are an attacking team. We want to go forward, create chances, score goals and be on the front foot. That being said, we have to find a way to be stronger on the other side of the ball.”
Atlanta, now out of the playoffs, have several tough decisions to make as they prepare to construct their roster ahead of the 2024 MLS Season. The likes of Guzan, Miles Robinson and Thiago Almada might’ve all played their final game for the club, signaling a busy offseason for president and chief executive officer Garth Lagerwey and vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra.
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