After the transfer of Pity Martinez to Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr on Sept. 7, many were eager to see Atlanta United star midfielder Ezequiel Barco take over the reins to their attack.
Except Barco, who joined Atlanta in January 2018 from Independiente for a reported $15 million, only played two matches after the Pity transfer and both were Atlanta losses. He's missed the last four league matches, including their 4-0 win Saturday over D.C. United at Audi Field.
The length of Barco's absence and the general lack of specifics has led to speculation that there may be something else at play or perhaps even transfer interest from abroad, given those rumors are resurfacing roughly every other week.
But after their resounding win, interim head coach Stephen Glass removed any doubt that Barco is indeed dealing with an injury and that he'll be back playing for Atlanta.
"One hundred percent I see him playing with the team for the rest of the year," Glass said.
"Ezequiel has been training. He is day to day. I don’t want to divulge what his injury is, but he’s been carrying an injury that he’s been able to train. He’s been feeling things and he’s had a couple of setbacks.
"So there is nothing sinister going on with him. I’ve seen the suggestions that I’m not quite being honest that he’s training. He’s 100 percent training. I’ve seen an article the other day that said 'alleged injuries.' He has an injury. That’s the simple fact. I’ve not been misleading in any way. The club has not been misleading in any way. He wants to play, we want him to play and he will play a part later on in the season. I don’t know when. Hopefully very soon.”
Barco has appeared in 10 of the club's 15 regular-season matches in 2020, scoring two goals and notching three assists.
Atlanta's next match is at home Wednesday, Oct. 7 against rivals Orlando City SC (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+). They currently occupy eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings and are one of three teams on 17 points.