Atlanta United unlikely to complete deal in transfer window

April 28, 2018 Atlanta: Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez gets a header for a shot on goal against the Montreal Impact during the second half in a MLS soccer game on Saturday, April 28, 2018, in Atlanta.  Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
April 28, 2018 Atlanta: Atlanta United forward Josef Martinez gets a header for a shot on goal against the Montreal Impact during the second half in a MLS soccer game on Saturday, April 28, 2018, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Atlanta United President Darren Eales said on Saturday that he doesn’t anticipate the team completing a transaction for a player before the transfer window closes on Tuesday.

Eales said they team has worked to find a replacement for defensive midfielder Carlos Carmona, who was sold before the season.

“The reality is it’s a really tricky window for MLS clubs because everyone else is in the crunch time of their seasons,” Eales said. “You can never say never, but it’s probably unlikely.”

Repeating something he and vice president Carlos Bocanegra have said many times, the team is always looking to improve from transfer window to transfer window.

“At this stage, it will likely be more likely in the summer,” he said.

Manager Gerardo Martino said weeks ago that he hoped the team could find Carmona’s replacement during this transfer window, which opened on Feb. 7. It will close at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday. Eales declined to discuss Stephane Mbia, who was in Atlanta several weeks ago but didn’t sign with the club.

The team can resume its pursuit when the secondary transfer window opens July 10. It will close August 8.

The targets will remain the same.

“Few areas we were looking for,” Eales said. “Defensive midfielder was clearly an area. Jeff (Larentowicz) has been brilliant, but we will need cover.”

Miguel Almiron, a frequent subject of trade rumors is expected to stay with Atlanta United throughout the season. Eales said they have received no official offers for the Paraguayan, who is tied with Josef Martinez for the lead in goals scored (six) in MLS this season.

Eales also said they have received no official offers from any MLS teams for any other player.

Atlanta United’s roster has its maximum of 30 players. If the team were to trade or purchase a player, it would have to make a decision with another player to open a slot. It has also filled each of its seven international slots, though they are methods of freeing up slots by using Atlanta United 2’s roster.

Though Eales wants to continue to build depth, the team has shown the quality of the roster constructed by Bocanegra and Director of Soccer Operations Paul McDonough throughout the season.

In Saturday's 4-1 win against Montreal, Kevin Kratz, normally the first sub off the bench, came on in the 74th minute and scored two goals, both on free kicks.

In last week’s 2-0 win at the L.A. Galaxy, Romario Williams came into the game and drew a penalty that was converted by Almiron. Williams has also scored one goal this season. It’s Atlanta United 2 team in USL is filled with players who have started for the U.S. youth national teams.

Atlanta United fielded a full-strength 18 for the first time this season against Montreal. That 18 included Hector Villalba, who scored 13 goals and 11 assists last season, coming off the bench at the start of the second half. He missed the previous two games because of a strained hamstring. Franco Escobar, a defender who started the first three games, also returned from a concussion. He said he felt nervous playing on Saturday because he hadn't played in more than a month. He said it was his first concussion.

That Darlington Nagbe and Ezequiel Barco, the team’s two targeted offseason acquisitions, have yet to score but the team still leads MLS in goals scored (21) and goal difference (12) shows the standard of the roster.

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