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Atlanta United expects Pity Martinez, Ezequiel Barco back for 2020

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It doesn’t sound like a sale is imminent for either player, according to club management.

SOCCER: FEB 28 CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 - Atlanta United v Herediano Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Any speculation of Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martinez playing elsewhere other than Atlanta United in 2020 appears to be just that: speculation.

During the club’s season ending conference call with media on Thursday, vice president Carlos Bocanegra said that he expects both Barco and Martinez to be with the club next season. While Bocanegra stated that there is interest in players already on the roster, he declined to discuss matters beyond that.

Barco will be heading into his 3rd season with Atlanta, and following a slow start to his MLS career in 2018, he registered 4 goals and 3 assists in 15 MLS apperances (11 starts) in 2019 while showing more of the creativity that made him a lauded signing out of Independiente. That’s compared to the same statline but in 11 more matches last year. However, his progress in 2019 was hindered a bit due to injury, and fans didn’t see as much of him as they would have liked thanks to that and call-ups to the Argentinian national team for the U-20 World Cup.

As for Martinez, he took a little while to become acclimated to his new league after a move from River Plate in the offseason, but showed immense promise as the campaign progressed. Part of that acclimation process included frustration with Frank de Boer and his tactical style, but despite the two sides airing out their greviances through media channels, they were able to patch things up.

Martinez notably didn’t play in Atlanta’s 1-0 playoff-opening win over New England as de Boer opted for a different tactical approach, but did play against the Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC. He recorded a goal and an assist in a man of the match performance against the Union while tacking on an assist in the Eastern Conference Final loss to Toronto.