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Ezequiel Barco, Alan Franco available for selection vs. Nashville SC

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Gabriel Heinze and Altanta United get their playmaker back

SOCCER: APR 27 CONCACAF Champions League - Philadelphia Union FC at Atlanta United FC Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Atlanta United manager Gabriel Heinze had good news to announce today ahead of the team’s home match Saturday against Nashville SC — designated players Ezequiel Barco and Alan Franco will both be available for selection.

We don’t know whether either will be fit enough to start in Heinze’s XI, but the news that Barco will be able to play a role in the match is encouraging. The team’s best playmaker has missed the last three league matches with a lower body soft tissue injury, and has only played in roughly 41 percent of the minutes in the team’s first six matches of the season. Having struggled to create chances in his absence, his return is sure to help Atlanta United’s attack in front of the home crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday.

Assuming Barco plays and finishes the game in good health, it would ostensibly mean he’ll be fit enough to participate with the Argentina U-23 squad to which he was called up this week. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Doug Roberson spoke with team president Darren Eales this week, who said his participation internationally will be dependent on the player’s health condition.

It’s also good to see that Franco is back healthy, though it’d be a surprise for him to crack the starting lineup considering the form shown by Miles Robinson and Anton Walkes in his absence. The team’s other notable injury miss, Jurgen Damm, remains out this week. Heinze told media he’s making progress with his hamstring pull and that they hope to have him back within the next two weeks.