Atlanta United have one less international slot issue to worry about. The club announced on Monday that Tito Villalba has acquired a United States green card and will no longer count as an international player on their roster.
Villalba was signed as Atlanta’s first-ever Designated Player in July of 2016. After spending half of a season on-loan with Club Tijuana he joined the Five Stripes for their inaugural season and shined. With 13 goals and 11 assists, the 23-year-old established himself as a key component to the club’s record-breaking attack.
This news is very much welcome for the club who are pushing the limits of a Major League Soccer roster. With the acquisition of Ezequiel Barco last week they will need all the international slots they can muster and will even have to find a way to open up a Designated Player slot. While it hasn’t been announced by the club, it is widely expected that they will buy down Villalba’s contract opening up that spot for Barco.
Update: Atlanta United Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra says that the club is working on obtaining more green cards for its internationals.