Ezequiel Barco – Atlanta United – tight shot

Should Atlanta United earn all three points when hosting Columbus Crew SC this Saturday (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the US and DAZN in Canada), it’ll have to come without one of their Argentine stars.

Manager Frank de Boer confirmed to local reporters that Ezequiel Barco is set to miss the Eastern Conference clash with a muscle injury near his knee. The 20-year-old Designated Player also missed the 3-1 loss Aug. 31 at the Philadelphia Union that saw Philly briefly move atop the conference standings.

The injury occurred in Atlanta’s U.S. Open Cup victory over Minnesota United, with his absence described as “week-to-week.”

Barco has four goals and two assists through 13 matches and has already missed considerable time at various points due to previous injury as well as an extended stint with Argentina at the FIFA U-20 World Cup this summer. Despite that, Barco earned a spot on the 2019 MLS All-Star team and has been the subject of widespread transfer speculation

Atlanta, defending MLS Cup champions, are currently third in the East behind Philadelphia and first-place New York City FC. They have six games left in their regular season to make up ground. The Five Stripes are 6-2-0 across their last eight league matches.