Atlanta United will have to start the 2018 season without their biggest offseason acquisition.
The club announced on Wednesday that Ezequiel Barco will be out of action for four to six weeks with a right quad strain.
Barco, 18, was acquired in January from Independiente after a heated and highly publicized transfer saga. He appeared in three preseason games, scoring a very nice goal against Minnesota United in the Carolina Challenge Cup.
With Barco on the sidelines it will be up to the reserves to fill in his spot. There are several options for Tata Martino to plug into the left flank role in the youngster’s absence. The most obvious choice would be to swap Tito Villalba over to the left and insert reigning Rookie of the Year, Julian Gressel, on the right. Perhaps the option most fans want to see is 17-year-old Andrew Carleton getting his chance to shine. There’s also Brandon Vazquez available to play in the role as well.
All three are more than capable of producing at a high level in Barco’s absence. So while not being able to see the talented Argentine play for a month or more is a bitter pill to swallow, there is some solace in the fact that there are adequate replacements available.
Let us know in the comments who you think should be inserted into the lineup.