Not much is going wrong in Atlanta these days, with an eight-game unbeaten run putting the expansion club on the precipice of earning the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. But they will have to earn that spot in the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs without another one of their main contributors.
Left back Greg Garza exited Saturday's 0-0 draw against the New England Revolution in the 27th minute, and on Tuesday, the club announced that the 26-year-old will miss the next four to six weeks due to a left hamstring injury. This comes on the heels of Miguel Almiron's left hamstring injury on Sept. 24, which has put him out for a minimum of three weeks.
Garza had just returned from a hamstring injury that knocked him out for three matches, and Saturday's match was his first start since returning. In total, he has appeared in 26 games this season, starting 25. The four-to-six-week timeframe knocks him out for the rest of the regular season, and likely through the November FIFA window, which would mean Atlanta would have to reach the Eastern Conference Championship for Garza to reach the field again in 2017.
Chris McCann has filled in ably for Garza when the American has been out, but left back is not his natural position. The Irishman has played mostly as a central midfielder or center back in his career, and while his skill is an asset in the final third, his lack of foot speed could present an issue when facing speedy wingers. Former Orlando City left back Mikey Ambrose presents a more natural replacement, but has started just one game so far this season.