Although he was absent from Atlanta United’s first training of the 2018 season, Ezequiel Barco was still a topic of conversation among players, coaches and the technical staff.
Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra discussed what attracted Atlanta to the young Argentine.
He’s a special young player, one of the top young talents out of South America. For us, for him to choose to come play in Atlanta and come play in MLS for the next step in his career, that’s a huge accomplishment for us and we’re very proud. It’s become a league of choice and our club has become a club of choice. That part is really cool, and we add another dynamic to compliment Miguel(Almiron), Darlington(Nagbe), Josef(Martinez), Tito(Villalba) up top, and Julian(Gressel) and all these guys. It creates competition up front and it creates some depth for us which we needed. He’s just another piece to the puzzle.
Speaking with Tata Martino, one of his highest priorities heading into the offseason was bringing in players with technical ability that can break down teams who sit back and defend.
Barco is similar to Darlington in the sense that he’s very good 1v1. He brings a lot of talent to our roster, and even though he’s a young player, he’s shown that he doesn’t have any problem taking on a heavy load for the team.
Team captain Michael Parkhurst got as much information on his potential teammate as he could while the transfer saga went on. “I was following along on Twitter like everybody else. I was getting questions about it, but I didn’t know anything. I saw some of the highlights they put out, but I’m excited to see the real thing whenever he arrives.”
“The most exciting part of it is that it shows the ambition of the club and where we want to go as a club,” Brad Guzan said. “We knew going into the season that we had a very good team based off of last year, but when you add players like that, it’s going to make us better and push everyone in training. That’s what you want. It creates a winning environment.”
Barco is expected to arrive in Orlando late next week as the club awaits his P-1A to finalize, which allows athletes temporary stay in the U.S. for athletic competition. He will then meet up with the team in Bradenton, where most of their training takes place before the first preseason match against Nashville SC.