Mears was coming off a 2016 season with the Seattle Sounders in which he helped them win the MLS Cup final. Atlanta United thought they found their starting right back for their inaugural season, a veteran one-on-one defender with the ability to push forward to aid the attack but he couldn’t quite contribute like he did in Seattle. He began the season as the undisputed starter at right back but his lack of pace and defensive abilities forced Tata Martino to replace him with Tottenham loanee, Anton Walkes. So we should really thank Mears for giving us the opportunity to witness Walkes progression and conversion from center back to right back.
What went right this season? He did have some great moments this season, two to be more exact, he will always be remembered for that amazing assist to Yamil Asad for the first goal in the history of Atlanta United. His only goal was a great one also, coming off the bench against the Philadelphia Union to score the game tying goal in the last minutes of the game to give Atlanta a huge point on the road.
What does he need to improve on? It’s hard to imagine the soon to be 35-year-old improving much at all. After a decent career in England and a great stint in Seattle the English defender should be retiring soon.
What role will he play in 2018? I’ll be surprised if he comes back to Atlanta for next season, he’s clearly not in Tata Martino’s plans going forward and the team is already looking for versatile defenders to help the team next season.