Darren Eales and Carlos Bocanerga are building an offensive juggernaut.
After capping their inaugural season ranked second in scoring with 70 goals, Atlanta United acquired MLS star and U.S. international Darlington Nagbe in a record-breaking trade with the Portland Timbers, sending more than $1 million in General Allocation Money and Targeted Allocation Money and a 2018 international roster spot for the star midfielder and his teammate, 25-year-old defender Gbenga Arokoyo.
“Darlington was our top target in the league this offseason and we’re ecstatic to welcome him to our club,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement. “He is a perfect fit for our style of play as he has a dynamic ability to dribble out of trouble, maintain possession and make passes that bring additional players into the game.”
Factoring incentives into the trade, the deal could reach up to $1.65 million in allocation money heading to Portland — exceeding last summer’s Dom Dwyer transfer as the largest sum in league history.
The No. 2 overall pick in 2011 MLS SuperDraft and 2016 All-Star selection is considered one of the top playmakers in the league. In 214 career appearances, he’s scored 27 goals and dished out 30 assists. He led the MLS in passing accuracy last season and helped the Timbers win the league title in 2015.
Nagbe has also earned 12 caps for the U.S. national team.
Adding Nagbe’s skillset to the likes of MLS MVP finalist Miguel Almirón, Josef Martinez and Hector Villalba could help the Five Stripes jump Toronto as the league’s top-scoring team in 2018.