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Veteran defender Chris McCann waived by Atlanta United

Dec 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta United midfielder Chris McCann (16) during the Portland Timbers in the 2018 MLS Cup championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chris McCann’s tenure with Atlanta United FC has ended.

The reigning Major League Soccer Cup champs announced Saturday the club waived McCann, a veteran Irish defender who spent two seasons with the club. McCann, 31, played in two of Atlanta’s postseason games in 2018, totaling nine minutes.

If McCann isn’t claimed by another MLS club by 5 p.m. ET Monday, he will become a free agent.

McCann was one of the first players to ever sign with Atlanta United in July, 2016. He joined the Five Stripes on a free transfer from Wigan Athletic, a second-tier club in England. Before that, McCann played at Burnley in the English Premier League and the Championship. After signing with Atlanta United, he briefly went on loan to Coventry City, another English club. In all, McCann played in 379 matches in England, totaling 40 goals and 25 assists.

A wiry 6-foot-1 defender, McCann brought experience and versatility to Atlanta’s back line. He featured as a centerback, defensive midfielder, fullback and wingback. Over two seasons with the Five Stripes, he appeared in 50 matches across all contests, scored once and notched two assists.

In the latter portions of the 2018 season, McCann played mostly at left back or left wingback, filling in for an injured Greg Garza. But Atlanta became stacked at that position, signing Brek Shea and getting Mikey Ambrose back from injury over the offseason. Rising homegrown George Bello also plays the position, as does young Venezuelan Jose Hernandez. The team also added depth at centerback, bringing on Florentin Pogba.

McCann was Atlanta United’s eighth highest paid player in 2018, earning a total compensation of $588,000, according to numbers from the MLS Players Association.

In 2018, McCann started 21 matches for the Five Stripes and saw action in three more while battling various injuries throughout the season. He missed nine games from May 5 through July 4 and missed the beginning of the postseason with a quad strain.

His highlight of the season came on April 15, when he scored off a header against NYCFC. McCann also lit up social media for a moment last season, when he made a simple move that left Zlatan Ibrahimovic lying in the dirt.

Atlanta United is currently training in California. It’s first competitive game of 2019 will be played in Costa Rica, when it meets CS Herediano for the first leg of a Concacaf Champions League series.




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