After one of the worst losses in Atlanta United’s short history, the club welcomes any pick-me-up in arms reach as they quickly turn their attention to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday.
According to head coach Frank de Boer during Friday morning’s media availability, reinforcements will come in the form of a reigning MLS MVP.
“Josef (Martinez) is back,” de Boer confirmed. “He brings extra spirit in the team and I love that he’s back of course.”
Martinez spent the past month with the Venezuela national team at Copa America where La Vinotinto progressed to the quarterfinals before losing to Argentina 2-0. He scored one goal in three appearances off the bench.
Lovely cross from Yeferson Soteldo.— Joga Bonito (@Jasoninho10) June 22, 2019
⚽️ Glancing header by Josef Martínez.
The substitutes combine for an important late goal, sealing the win for #Venezuela over Bolivia.#BOLVEN #ATLUTD #Vinotinto #CopaAmerica pic.twitter.com/y7i7aLm6f8
The news isn’t as great for Ezequiel Barco and Tito Villalba who remain out due to knee injuries.
In regards to Barco, de Boer said the club will have an updated medical report on Sunday and hopefully he’ll be able to start team activities at some point next week. The original timetable for his return was two weeks, so that would be right on schedule.
As for Villalba, it seems his injury is still a cause for concern with de Boer simply stating that “he’s a little further away.” The Paraguayan international suffered the blow during Atlanta’s most recent meeting against NYRB back in May after Kemar Lawrence lunged into a tackle in the final seconds.