Official: Atlanta United loan Ezequiel Barco to River Plate for 2022
TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Loan
Atlanta United acquired midfielder Ezequiel Barco from Club Atlético Independiente of the Argentine Superliga in January 2018. The Argentine scored four goals and added three assists in each of his first two MLS seasons and was named to the MLS All-Star Team in both 2018 and 2019. In December 2019, MLSsoccer.com ranked Barco the No. 2 player under 22 years of age in MLS. Barco made 26 appearances across all competitions in 2019 and recorded four goals and eight assists. In 2020, Barco made 19 appearances across all competitions and recorded two goals and three assists.
Barco had his best season in MLS in 2021 despite missing time while representing Argentina at the Tokyo Olympics, recording career highs in starts (23), minutes (2,138), goals (seven) and assists (eight).
On Jan. 30, 2022, Barco joined Club Atlético River Plate on a two-year loan deal. In his first year back in Argentina, the winger scored five goals and recorded four assists in his 45 total appearances across all competitions. Barco made 29 starts and totaled 2,527 minutes of playing time.
Barco joined Independiente’s youth academy at 15 and signed a professional contract with the club in July of 2016. In two seasons at Independiente, Barco combined to make 57 total appearances across league, Copa Sudamericana and Copa Argentina play, scoring eight goals and leading Independiente to the 2017 Copa Sudamericana title.
2022 (Club Atlético River Plate): Made 45 appearances and 29 starts across all competitions. Scored five goals and recorded four assists across his 2,527 minutes played.
2021 (Atlanta United): Made 29 appearances and 27 starts across all competitions. Started 23 of his 25 MLS appearances. Recorded a career-best seven goals. Recorded a career-best eight assists, which also led the team. CONCACAF Champions League: Started three matches, including both legs against Alajuelense in the Round of 16 and the first leg against Philadelphia Union in the quarterfinals. Scored the game-winning goal in 1-0 victory at Alajuelense in the first leg.
2020 (Atlanta United): Made 19 appearances across all competitions. Started 11 of his 15 league appearances, tallying two goals and three assists. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started Atlanta’s match against New York City FC. CONCACAF Champions League: Started all four matches against FC Motagua and Club América.
2019 (Atlanta United): Made 26 appearances across all competitions and recorded four goals and eight assists. Barco tallied four goals and three assists in 15 MLS appearances (11 starts) while missing time due to injury and a breakout performance (two goals and two assists in four matches) with Argentina at the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Voted to his second MLS All-Star team. Scored two goals in 2-0 win at New England (4/13) Named MLS Player of the Week for weeks 7 and 10. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started all three of the team’s playoff games and recorded two assists. US Open Cup: Started three games and recorded an assist in Atlanta’s 3-2 win against Columbus Crew SC (6/18). CONCACAF Champions League: Started all four games and recorded two assists in Atlanta’s 4-0 win against CS Herediano (2/28). Campeones Cup: Came on as a substitute in Atlanta’s 3-2 win against Club America (8/14).
2018 (Atlanta United): After suffering an injury in preseason, Barco made his MLS debut on April 15 in a 2-2 draw with NYCFC. A week later, the Argentine midfielder started his first match for Atlanta at LA Galaxy. He scored his first MLS goal in a 2-1 win at Chicago Fire (5/5). Barco finished the regular season with four goals and three assists. He made 26 total appearances, with 19 starts in his first season in Atlanta and was voted to his first MLS All-Star team. MLS Cup Playoffs: Made two substitute appearances in the Eastern Conference Semifinal series vs. NYCFC. Played off the bench in the Eastern Conference Final and in MLS Cup, helping Atlanta United win its first major trophy. US Open Cup: Started and scored in the 3-0 Open Cup victory against Charleston Battery. Made a substitute appearance against Chicago Fire.
2017 (CA Independiente): Barco made eight league appearances, scored one goal and added two assists. He also helped lead Independiente to the 2017 Copa Sudamericana title, defeating Brazilian side Flamengo 3-2 on aggregate in the final. The 18-year-old played a key role for El Rojo and tallied three goals and two assists during its run to the championship, including the title-deciding goal when he converted a penalty to make it 1-1 in the second leg at the Maracana. Barco also recorded an assist in the first leg of the final, a 2-1 win for Independiente, and scored from the penalty spot during a 3-1 win over Libertad in the semifinals, helping Independiente win 3-2 on aggregate to advance to the final.
2016/2017 (CA Independiente): In his first season in the Argentine Superleague, Barco appeared in all 30 league matches, had 18 starts and scored four goals. He helped the club secure a sixth-place finish in the 28-team league, qualifying it for the 2018 Copa Sudamericana.
International: Barco has four caps with Argentina’s U-23s and represented his country at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, starting all three matches as Argentina was eliminated after the group stage. Barco earned his first cap with Argentina’s U-23s in a 1-0 win against Brazil’s U-23s (11/17/19). Barco made 14 appearances with Argentina’s U-20 National Team and scored twice and added two assists in four games at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup.