Sometimes signings fail to resemble anything similar to the player’s highlight compilation, and in Atlanta United’s case, none more so than Manuel Castro. Atlanta’s first Uruguayan, fortunately only brought in on loan from Argentine club Estudiantes de la Plata, ended the season far down the pecking order for a position some expected him to start at in March and it’s no surprise why.
Position: Right Winger
Games Played: 10 (3 starts)
What went right this season?
When Castro missed multiple golden chances on his debut in the MLSisBack tournament against the New York Red Bulls (albeit from the unfamiliar position of striker), his time in Atlanta seemed only capable of improving, for better or worse. But improve it did not. The Uruguayan ended up starting just two more matches, never able to offer much to an Atlanta attack that would have accepted anything. It’s hard to understand what the Front Office saw in the 25-year-old, who had tallied a mere two goals in 23 appearances with Estudiantes.
What does he need to improve on?
Though Castro certainly didn’t live up to standards, it’s hard to blame him too much. Coming from Argentina to Atlanta is no easy transition in normal times, let alone in a pandemic and the uncertainty it threw at professional sports. The situation was an impossible one for Castro who had to deal with the rigors of playing sports amidst COVID-19 while in a foreign country.
What role will he play in 2021?
Atlanta will surely not make Castro’s loan permanent, with Jurgen Damm now filling the role Castro was expected to when he signed, while Brooks Lennon and Jon Gallagher provide plenty of depth on the wings. Back to Estudiantes Castro will go and perhaps a return to South America will rekindle his career.
Good luck in 2021, Manuel!