Atlanta United, Erik Lopez mutually terminate contract

May 29, 2021 Atlanta - Atlanta United forward Erik Lopez (16) celebrates after scoring during the second half in a MLS soccer match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday, May 29, 2021. The game ended with 2-2. (Hyosub Shin /



May 29, 2021 Atlanta - Atlanta United forward Erik Lopez (16) celebrates after scoring during the second half in a MLS soccer match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday, May 29, 2021. The game ended with 2-2. (Hyosub Shin /

Atlanta United and Erik Lopez mutually agreed to terminate his contract with the club Friday in a move that will significantly help the team next season.

Lopez had a guaranteed salary of $568,300 this season, according to the MLSPA salary database.

The termination won’t provide any salary-cap relief this season, but will for the 2024 season. It will open a roster spot this season, which wasn’t needed, and for next season.

It also will bring Atlanta United down to the maximum three Under-22 Initiative signings next season. Those players currently are Santiago Sosa, Edwin Mosquera and Franco Ibarra, who had to be sent on loan to Toronto last month for the team to comply with MLS rules. Ibarra’s loan is for the remainder of the season. He can’t be recalled earlier because Lopez will occupy the U22 slot until the end of the season.

Lopez was purchased from Olimpia in his native Paraguay during the 2020 season. Because of the complexities of MLS rules, Lopez couldn’t be added to the first team. Instead, he played for Atlanta United 2.

Then-manager Gabriel Heinze moved Lopez from striker to right wing in the beginning of the 2021 season. He made 18 appearances, scoring one goal, that season. He made one more appearance during the next two seasons.

MLS rules restrict teams to one contract buyout during the offseason. Atlanta United used its on Josef Martinez. However, teams are allowed to part with players if there is a mutual agreement to terminate the contract.

Also Friday, Atlanta United announced that the time of its match against Miami on Sept. 16 was moved to 5 p.m. from 7:30 p.m.

For more content about Atlanta United

Follow me on Twitter @DougRobersonAJC

On Facebook at Atlanta United News Now

On Instagram at DouglasDavidRoberson

Atlanta United coverage on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Southern Fried Soccer podcast can be found

Apple -

Spotify -

Google podcasts -

If you are listening to us for the first time, please follow us on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcast ... and if you like what you hear, please give us a good rating so we can grow the show. If you have questions about the MLS team, you can email Doug Roberson at, DM him on Twitter @dougrobersonajc or call 404-526-2527.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a special offer for Atlanta United supporters and listeners to this podcast. If you subscribe today, you will not only get unlimited digital access to the AJC and the Sunday paper for $2.30 a week but we are also throwing in a special limited-edition Atlanta United and Atlanta Journal-Constitution scarf. So sign up now at

Atlanta United’s 2023 MLS schedule

Feb. 25 Atlanta United 2, San Jose Earthquakes 1

March 4 Atlanta United 1, Toronto FC 1

March 11 Atlanta United 3, Charlotte FC 0

March 18 Atlanta United 5, Portland 1

March 25 Columbus 6, Atlanta United 1

April 1 Atlanta United 1, New York Red Bulls 0

April 8 Atlanta United 1, New York City FC 1

April 15 Atlanta United 2, Toronto FC 2

April 23 Atlanta United 2, Chicago 1

April 29 Nashville SC 3, Atlanta United 1

May 6 Inter Miami CF 2, Atlanta United 1

May 13 Charlotte 3, Atlanta United 1

May 17 Atlanta United 4, Colorado 0

May 20 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 3

May 27 Atlanta United 1, Orlando 1

May 31 Atlanta United 3, New England 3

June 7 Atlanta United 0, LAFC 0

June 10 Atlanta United 3, D.C. United 1

June 21 Atlanta United 2, New York City 2

June 24 New York Red Bulls 4, Atlanta United 0

July 2 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 0

July 8 Atlanta United 1, Montreal 0

July 12 New England 2, Atlanta United 1

July 15 Orlando City 2, Atlanta United 1

July 25 Miami 4, Atlanta United 0 in Leagues Cup

July 29 Cruz Azul 1 (5), Atlanta United (4) 1 in Leagues Cup

Aug. 20 at Seattle Sounders, 10:30 p.m.

Aug. 26 vs. Nashville SC, 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 30 vs. FC Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 2 at FC Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Sept. 16 vs. Inter Miami CF, 5 p.m.

Sept. 20 at D.C. United, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 vs. CF Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 4 at Philadelphia Union, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 7 vs. Columbus Crew, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 21 at FC Cincinnati, TBA