3 questions about Atlanta United’s Darlington Nagbe

4:52 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 Homepage
    If you missed it, Atlanta United acquired Darlington Nagbe from Portland in a record-setting trade. 
    No media reporter knows Nagbe better than Jamie Goldberg, who is the lead soccer reporter at The Oregonian and has been covering the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns since 2013. She agreed to answer three questions about the midfielder. Her articles can be found on OregonLive.com/Timbers. She is on Twitter: @jamiebgoldberg.

Q: Even with his reported request for an increased salary, why would Portland look to trade one of its best players?

A: Nagbe has been a critical role player for the Timbers over the last seven years, but he hasn’t consistently produced goals and assists in recent years. While the Timbers are giving up an incredibly talented player, they are also getting a significant amount of allocation money in return. They can use that allocation money to sign a talented international player or even make multiple moves to bring in more than one key contributor. I think the Timbers believe that they can use the resources that they are acquiring from Atlanta to replace Nagbe with another top attacking player that can maybe contribute more goals and assists in Portland.

Q: What do you think is Nagbe’s best position and why?

A: Nagbe is such a useful player because he can perform in multiple key positions. He is capable of playing as a No. 8, a No. 10 or as a winger. I think his best position is likely on the left wing because he can get involved in the attack and get off shots with his right foot. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play in multiple positions in Atlanta.

Q: What are Nagbe’s strengths and weaknesses?

A: Nagbe is one of the best players in MLS with the ball at his feet. He is invaluable in transition and rarely loses the ball. Many teams in MLS resort to fouling Nagbe to simply stop him on the dribble. He is also capable of scoring world class goals. But he doesn’t produce goals and assists consistently. That’s his biggest weakness. As good as Nagbe is with the ball, it’s hard not to want more from him in terms of production.