Atlanta United FC cruised to a 3-1 win over D.C. United on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and while Josef Martinez created the headlines with his hat trick, the status of Ezequiel Barco for the match was another prominent storyline.
Eyebrows were raised pregame, as Barco was not in the 18 for the match. The 19-year-old had played the previous 16 MLS regular season games in a row this season, after recovering from an injury suffered in the preseason. The Argentine joined Atlanta in the offseason from Independiente for a league-record $15 million transfer fee.
Following the match, Atlanta United head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino was asked why Barco was not included in the squad against D.C. United. The manager said he was kept out due to "indiscipline."
Tata says Barco violated a team rule and that’s why he was kept out of the team today. He didn’t go into specifics, but he will also be out against Montreal.— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) July 21, 2018
Tata Martino said Barco will have to earn his position back with the team. #ATLTUD— Eric Quintana 🇺🇾 (@EricGQuintana) July 21, 2018
Martino said he'd have to do that through his training, effort and dedication. #ATLUTD— Eric Quintana 🇺🇾 (@EricGQuintana) July 21, 2018
Atlanta currently sit atop the Supporters' Shield standings, averaging two points a game after their win on Saturday.