Atlanta United added a nice piece to their defense Wednesday: former D.C. United defender Bobby Boswell, a name longtime MLS fans know well. But for those who haven’t followed Atlanta’s Eastern Conference rivals, here’s what fans can expect from the newest member of the Atlanta United ranks:
With 12 years in Major League Soccer under his belt, Boswell brings experience and veteran intelligence to the Atlanta United back line. Boswell began his career with D.C. United back in 2005, then spent six years with the Houston Dynamo before returning to the nation’s capital to captain D.C. before the 2014 season. Among non-goalkeepers, Boswell has recorded the third-most regular season starts in MLS history – with 360 to his name – and is tied for fifth in most games played with 365. Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said Boswell’s vast experience and leadership abilities were key factors in his signing.
Boswell has been a key, consistent contributor in every squad he’s been a part of, with his old general manager calling him “one of the fiercest competitors this league has ever seen.” Since rejoining D.C. United in 2014, Boswell leads the team’s defenders in appearances (108), blocks (64) and interceptions (247), according to Opta. He’s also second in the team in both aerial challenges (383) and aerials won (207). That aerial presence makes him a threat on set pieces on the offensive end as well, where Bobby has scored six goals in the past three seasons. All those stats together have made him a two-time MLS Best XI Selection, a two-time Supporters’ Shield winner and 2006 MLS Defender of the Year. And in all that time, he’s only missed making the MLS Cup Playoffs once in his 12-year career.
With Anton Walkes’ move to the right flank and Zach Loyd’s injury situation, Head Coach Tata Martino is finding himself a little short of people who can take command in the central defensive role. With a heavy stretch of games coming up – eight games in less than four weeks through September and October – Atlanta United will need some extra legs in the back line. Boswell provides an experienced, talented piece of defensive reinforcement that Coach Martino can trust to fill in right away.
Boswell could make his Atlanta United debut as early as the next match, against his old club D.C. United on August 23rd. His home debut could come against FC Dallas as Atlanta United make their debut in Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 10th. Tickets are sold out to that game, so click here to make sure you’ve got a spot at the club’s next game, against the New England Revolution, on September 13th.