- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 21, 2020

D.C. United acquired midfielder Julian Gressel from Atlanta United for $750,000 in targeted allocation money, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.

Gressel has played three seasons in Major League Soccer and developed into one of Atlanta’s stars after earning MLS Rookie of the Year honors in 2017.

In 2019, he led Atlanta with 12 assists and scored a career-best six goals, second-most on the team. He also had 14 assists in 2018, the year Atlanta won the MLS Cup. Over three seasons, he totaled 15 goals and 35 assists — the fifth-most assists by any MLS player in that span.

Gressel, 26, grew up in Germany but came to the U.S. to play collegiately at Providence. He had a contract dispute with Atlanta this offseason, which may have led to the team deciding to trade him.

“We’re excited to bring a player of Julian’s quality and pedigree to the club ahead of the 2020 season,” United general manager Dave Kasper said in a statement. “He has impressed throughout his time in MLS and has been a major component to Atlanta’s success in the league since 2017.”

The targeted allocation money D.C. United is sending to Atlanta will be split up over two seasons: $650,000 in 2020 and $100,000 in 2021, with the possibility that it rises if Gressel meets undisclosed performance incentives.

D.C. United’s offense promises to look much different in 2020. Wayne Rooney left to return to England and join Derby County, and United’s other star, attacking midfielder Luciano Acosta, departed for the Mexican club Atlas last month after garnering interest from the likes of Paris-Saint Germain.

Last week, D.C. United signed Edison Flores, an attacking midfielder who has World Cup experience with his native Peru and figures to be a starter. Adding Gressel continues the makeover. D.C. United heads to Florida this weekend for two weeks of preseason training and plays its first regular-season game Feb. 29 at home against the Colorado Rapids.

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