The new-look Atlas defense: Who gets the nod in net?

By Lauren Merola | May 1, 2024

New York’s rebuild is underway: The Atlas signed former California Redwoods goalie Tim Troutner, traded away Chris Gray for this year’s No. 5 pick – giving them three top-10 selections – and re-signed offensive cornerstone Jeff Teat, midfielder Bryan Costabile and goalie Drake Porter, among others.

With the retirements of Jack Concannon and Tucker Durkin, there are also some pieces to shuffle on the returning roster.

Here’s what to look for from the Atlas defense this season:

Don’t expect a goalie battle in New York

Following the retirement of Concannon, a staple in net for the Atlas the past five years, Troutner and Porter are in position to be the starter and back-up, respectively. There will be slight goalie competition at training camp – “never say never,” as coach Mike Pressler said – but Pressler signed Troutner to be their starter.

“The thing about Troutner is that he’s a proven commodity in the league,” Pressler said. “He’s an excellent athlete. He’s great in the transition game, making plays around the goal, running out shots and all that. He gives us a little different dynamic in the goal as far as in the transition game, which we struggled in a year ago. There’s a lot of intangibles Tim brings to our team, but we really like both our goalies signed for ‘24.”

It’s a new beginning for Troutner, who only played in one game for the Redwoods in 2023 after Jack Kelly won the starting job. With more reps this season, Troutner will look to recapture his 2021 showing, when he made a career-high 125 saves on 58 percent in nine games.

A new core on the close defense

New York also lost its former captain and air traffic controller when Durkin retired this offseason, meaning it’s Brett Makar’s time to slot in to his natural role down low. Makar played LSM last season but played on the close defense during his college career at Maryland. He’ll join Michael Rexrode and Gavin Adler on the close defense, forming the core for “right now and the future,” Pressler said.

“Brett is very much like a young Tucker Durkin from a leadership point of view,” Pressler said. “We drafted Brett (in 2023) for a number of reasons, but his leadership ability, his ability to bring people together – he was a great captain at Maryland in his day – that was a major factor in us selecting him at No. 3. We really like that young group in the back there.”