A surprise in the Atlanta United lineup against DC United was the omission of Ezequiel Barco. Not only did Barco not start, but the $15 million player was not even in the 18 for the match at all. He did not appear on the injury report and there was nothing reported during the week to indicate why he would be missing the game, so it was something of a mystery as to why he was excluded from the match.
#ATLUTD's Starting XI against @dcunited pic.twitter.com/tbghxCAPom— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) July 21, 2018
Making things even more odd is that while the team struggled in the last game against the Seattle Sounders to pull out a win, Tata Martino had praise for the Argentinian during the week.
Tata Martino said at training this morning that Ezequiel Barco was Atlanta's best player against Seattle. #ATLUTD— Joe Patrick (@japatrick200) July 19, 2018
So what’s the deal? He’s not hurt, he isn’t being benched because of a poor performance so, where’s Barco? It turns out he violated a team rule and was held out of the DC United match by Martino. Not only that, but he will also miss the next game against the Montreal Impact as the team travels north of the border next weekend. There weren’t really any further details given, other than to say that Barco was being disciplined by the team.
So, the rumor was correct. The verbiage of “suspension” isn’t being used but Ezequiel missed today and will miss Montreal for “an act of indiscipline” https://t.co/CcSyLFrcfk— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) July 21, 2018
Strangely, the next time Barco may appear in a match will be the All-Star Game on August 1st.