Lastly, I would love to say the weekly MLS injury report is accurate for each game, but it’s often not, so I didn’t use it as a resource.
But 118 games is a lot and probably not what Frank de Boer imagined when he accepted the job. But, to his credit, he hasn’t complained publicly about the team’s misfortune.
It started with fullback Franco Escobar suffering a shoulder injury on the first day of training Jan. 15, continued with George Bello suffering an injury sometime around the first game in the Champions League a month later – robbing de Boer of his first-choice fullbacks before the MLS season had even started -- and continued with cranked calves, hamstrung hamstrings, ailing adductors and mysterious knee injuries scattered around Flo Pogba, Brek Shea, Brandon Vazquez, Kevin Kratz, Hector Villalba, Ezequiel Barco and most recently, Josef Martinez, who returned to training on Wednesday after suffering undisclosed injuries to his right knee and ankle three games ago against San Jose.
Perhaps that plot of land Atlanta United bought near its headquarters in Marietta will be to expand its trainer’s room.
I don’t mean to make light, but the team has been bizarrely unlucky.
Quick quiz: How many times this season has Atlanta United had its three Designated Players, Josef Martinez, Pity Martinez and Barco, and former DP Hector Villalba, in the same 18 this season?
Answer: In all games, 17 of a possible 43. In league games, 11 of a possible 33. The last was against Orlando on Aug. 23.
Every MLS team deals with injuries. Sporting KC’s season was ruined because of its myriad injuries.
But that Atlanta United was, until two games ago, competing for first in the East is an impressive bit of managing by de Boer.
Player (Approximation of possible MLS games missed)
George Bello 23
Kevin Kratz 23
Ezequiel Barco 13
Brek Shea 13
Brandon Vazquez 13
Hector Villalba 10
Mikey Ambrose 6
Franco Escobar 6
Flo Pogba 4
Josef Martinez 2
Eric Remedi 2
Julian Gressel 1
Pity Martinez 1
Michael Parkhurst 1