Frank de Boer on Atlanta United's options for MLS is Back Tournament without Josef Martinez

Pity Martinez and Emerson Hyndman celebrate a goal against San Jose - September 21, 2019

There's no replacing Josef Martinez, but ahead of the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Atlanta United head coach Frank de Boer is going to have to try.

The Five Stripes will be without one of the most ruthless and efficient strikers MLS has ever seen when they kick off tournament play against the New York Red Bulls on July 11 (8 pm ET | FOX, TUDN; TSN in Canada), as Martinez continues to recover from a torn ACL he suffered in Atlanta's match against Nashville SC on Feb. 29. 

That leaves de Boer with options as to what Atlanta's attacking band could look like, a few of which he broke down a Friday conference call with reporters, adding that deploying Pity Martinez as a false nine -- a move he's used in the past -- remains a possibility.

"We have Adam Jahn of course, and Manuel Castro," de Boer said. "And we have JJ Williams, so we have replacements for Josef. So we really, of course they are different types than Josef. For example, Manuel Castro is a guy who has a lot of energy, who wants to go make runs and that’s important. We can play with two 10s with [Ezequiel] Barco and Pity. We can also play with Pity as a false nine. And with Barco up front and Matheus Rossetto as an offensive midfielder. We can rotate a lot, two up front, one up front. So I have a lot of possibilities to use our players."

De Boer also said it's possible Atlanta aren't done making moves. The club has been linked to Paraguayan forward Erik Lopez in recent days, and added that a striker isn't the only position they could be looking at.

"Of course we have a lot of targets and it’s not that Lopez is top priority but if we can strengthen our team when we think he’s the right choice we will make the choice," he said. "But you’ll have to talk with Carlos [Bocanegra] if there’s something going on with Carlos.

"We’re always looking to strengthen our team. A striker, with Josef still out, it takes still a very long time, we are still looking for maybe a striker. But a midfielder right now would be nice. We have like four good midfielders. We have Tyler Wolff but he’s a very young prospective Homegrown player, can play in the midfield. Those two positions are what we’re looking for in the future."

De Boer also relayed his initial thoughts on the acquisition of winger Jurgen Damm, who was announced as Atlanta's newest signing on Wednesday. The Mexico international won't be eligible for the upcoming Tournament, but de Boer said he's hopeful that Damm will be able join the club soon and that he's looking forward to the versatile skillset he'll bring to the team.

"He can play on the left or on the right, so he's quite multi-functional," de Boer said. "I spoke with him yesterday and he's very excited to come here. He speaks very good English, so that's an advantage. He has a lot of energy to come here, hopefully he can join us very soon."