Although it was expected, Tata Martino confirmed to media members at Thursday’s training that both Ezequiel Barco and Franco Escobar will not play on Saturday against Minnesota United. Neither player participated in a practice this week.
“They’re continuing their recovery process, but they’re not ready yet,” said Martino. “They’re progressing well. I don’t want to throw a specific return date out there, but they’re doing well.”
In fairness, Barco was always a bit of a longshot to play this weekend with his original recovery timetable being set at 4-6 weeks and this week being the fourth since his diagnosis. Escobar is still out indefinitely.
However, something that wasn’t expected is the absence of Andrew Carleton, who will be unavailable due to strep throat. Carleton, along with Chris Goslin, were apart of the U.S. U20 national team camp in Europe this past week. We’ll likely see him back April 7th at home against LAFC.
Although Atlanta’s missing three notable players, Martino mentioned that Miguel Almiron, Darlington Nagbe, and Romario Williams are all good to go after fulfilling their national team duties earlier in the week.
Another good piece of news is that Brandon Vazquez has returned from a muscular injury suffered late in the preseason. The 20-year-old hasn’t played yet this campaign, but is available for selection on Saturday.
Let’s see how the team adjusts to a couple notable absences.