Atlanta United’s Villalba doubtful for Real Salt Lake

Hector Villalba is “very doubtful” for Atlanta United for Friday’s game at Real Salt Lake, according to manager Frank de Boer.

Villalba suffered two “knocks” to his knee during Sunday’s 1-0 loss at New York Red Bulls. De Boer said on Wednesday that Villalba had fluid on his knee.

Villalba, 24, has 11 appearances, nine starts, this season. He has scored one goal and added three assists.

The team is flying to Utah on Wednesday. Should Villalba not travel, Dion Pereira may be the player to replace him. Pereira, 20, has four appearances this season. 

“He’s knocking on the door, that’s for sure,” de Boer said of Pereira. 

Julian Gressel said he thinks Pereira has played very well in his appearances. Andrew Carleton is also a possibility. De Boer said he will travel with the team.

Midfielder Kevin Kratz will not travel.

Brandon Vazquez, 20, returned to training. De Boer said it’s likely that he will make an appearance for Atlanta United 2 before he plays for the senior team. Vazquez has 21 appearances with one goal for Atlanta United. His goal came two years ago at Real Salt Lake.