Sunday, April 2, 2017

Julian Gressel Notches First MLS Assist, Contributing from the Get-Go


MLS.com recently put out an article stating that Providence College Alum Julian Gressel may be becoming the steal of this past year's MLS Superdraft.  Since the former Friar Gressel just recently recorded his first professional assist, I thought it'd be a good chance to see how he's stacking up so far against the other rookies in his class through the beginning of this season.

Here's a look at the top ten picks from the Superdraft.
  1. Minnesota United FC - Abu Dunladi, Forward (UCLA)
    • 3 GP, 0 GS, 79 Mins, 0 Goals, 0 Assts
  2. Atlanta United FC - Miles Robinson, Defender (Syracuse)
    • Has not played
  3. New York City FC - Jonathan Lewis, Forward (Akron)
    • 1 GP, 0 GS, 11 Mins, 0 Goals, 0 Assts
  4. Portland Timbers - Jeremy Ebobisse, Forward (Duke)
    • Has not played
  5. Columbus Crew SC - Lalas Abubakar, Defender (Dayton)
    • Has not played
  6. San Jose Earthquakes - Jackson Yueill, Midfielder (UCLA)
    • Has not played
  7. Columbus Crew SC - Jake Nerwinski, Defender (UConn)
    • 1 GP, 1 GS, 90 Mins, 0 Goals, 0 Assts
  8. Atlanta United FC - Julian Gressel, Midfielder (Providence)
    • 4 GP, 4 GS, 333 Mins, 1 Asst
  9. Columbus Crew FC - Niko Hansen, Forward (New Mexico)
    • 2 GP, 0 GS, 34 Mins, 1 Goal, 0 Assts
  10. Houston Dynamo - Joe Holland, Midfielder (Hofstra)
    • Has not played
Out of the top ten picks of the draft, only 5 have seen playing time so far this season.  Gressel has played more minutes than the other 4 players combined (333 vs. 214).  In that time, Gressel has started all 4 games for Atlanta United FC on the season while only one player (Nerwinski) has started a game this season.  That was also Nerwinski's only game in which he saw action this season.  Niko Hansen is the only player with a goal this year while Gressel is the only player with an assist.  Gressel had a goal that was deflected off of a defender this year and was thus ruled an own goal.

It would be one thing if Gressel was getting a lot of playing time on a poor squad but Atlanta is currently in 2nd place in the Easter Conference with 7 points in 4 games.  The team ahead of them (Columbus) has a 3 point lead but has played 1 more game than Atlanta.  That makes Gressel's playing time even more impressive in his Rookie season.

Gressel has slid in seamlessly into MLS action and is displaying the talent, size, speed, and temperament of someone who has been in the league for years.  His coaches and teammates have shown trust and support for Gressel and that has seemingly made him more comfortable in his starting role.

A little bonus video of Gressel talking about his decision to play professionally in the US and also his experiences growing up that prepared him for facing adversity.