After picking up a knock while training with the Paraguayan national team a few weeks, Tito Villalba found himself ruled out for Atlanta United’s home finale against the Chicago Fire. Today, during training before the club heads north to take on Toronto FC, Tata Martino announced in his media availability that Villalba will be available for selection during the season finale on Sunday. However, he also stated that Miguel Almiron would be out of the lineup as the midfielder works to get back to full fitness after sustaining an injury to his left hamstring against the New England Revolution.
With both Villalba and Almiron out last Sunday, Martino called Andrew Carleton into action to fill Villalba’s normal spot on the left. He also placed Ezequiel Barco into the XI for the first time since the club’s away match at D.C. United on September 2. If Villalba’s fit enough, it likely means Julian Gressel on the right wing and Barco shifting to a midfield role.
We’ll also be watching to see how much Greg Garza will figure into things. The fullback returned to the 18 against Chicago for the first time since undergoing surgery on his shoulder in May but didn’t see any action. It’s likely Martino holds him back and saves him for the playoffs, but with the Supporters’ Shield in play on Sunday, don’t be surprised to see Garza out there even if it’s only for a few minutes.