Atlanta United uncertain if Barco will join Argentine squad

Atlanta United Ezequiel Barco (8) tries to get the ball past LD Alajuelense Fern��n Faerron (3) during the first half of a CONCACAF Champions League soccer match on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Gray)

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Atlanta United Ezequiel Barco (8) tries to get the ball past LD Alajuelense Fern��n Faerron (3) during the first half of a CONCACAF Champions League soccer match on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Gray)

Atlanta United President Darren Eales on Tuesday said that the MLS team doesn’t yet know if Ezequiel Barco will play for Argentina’s U-23 team this summer.

Barco has missed Atlanta United’s past four games because of a “lower body” issue. He appeared to sustain a hamstring injury in the team’s game against New England on May 1.

Barco, an attacking midfielder who has scored two goals for Atlanta United across all competitions this season, was named to the Argentina’s U23 team on Monday for friendlies against Denmark on June 8 and Saudi Arabia on June 11. It is not a FIFA-mandated event so the club doesn’t have to release Barco.

“We will have a chat and see how he’s progressing,” Eales said. “It will depend upon his fitness. If he’s not fit he can’t go anyway.”

Barco’s myriad injury history includes sustaining a knee injury while training with Argentina’s U20 team in January 2019. The injury resulted in him missing several weeks of Atlanta United training. It, however, didn’t cause him to miss any games.

Eales said the team has received no offers to buy any of its players, including Barco, nor has it made any offers to sign any players. The team, reportedly on Monday, made a $14 million bid for a Brazilian player.

Eales said the team may look this summer to sign a player to replace striker Lisandro Lopez, whose contract was mutually terminated following the death of his father in Argentina. Eales said the decision to end the contract was the right thing for the player. Lopez occupied a Supplemental spot on the team’s roster, which doesn’t count against the team’s cap but does come with a salary ceiling. Lopez also occupied an International slot, which is now free. The team can’t move a player from a Senior slot into a Supplemental slot.

“We will look in the summer to be as flexible as we can,” Eales said.

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Atlanta United’s 2021 MLS schedule

April 17 Atlanta United 0, Orlando 0

April 24 Atlanta United 3, Chicago 1

May 1 New England 2, Atlanta United 1

May 9 Atlanta United 1, Inter Miami 1,

May 15 Atlanta United 1, Montreal 0

May 23 Atlanta United 1, Seattle 1

May 29 vs. Nashville, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 20 vs. Philadelphia, 2 p.m., ESPN

June 23 at NYCFC (at Red Bull Arena), TBD, BSSO/BSSE

June 27 vs. New York Red Bulls, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 3 at Chicago, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 8 at Nashville, 8:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 17 vs. New England, 5 p.m., ESPN

July 21 at Cincinnati, 7 p.m., FS1

July 24 vs. Columbus, 3:30 p.m., ABC

July 30 at Orlando, 8 p.m., ESPN

Aug. 4 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 7 at Columbus, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 15 vs. LAFC, 4 p.m. ESPN

Aug. 18 vs. Toronto, 7 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 21 at D.C. United, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 28 vs. Nashville, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 10 vs. Orlando, 7 p.m., FS1

Sept. 15 vs. Cincinnati, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 18 vs. D.C. United, 3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 25 at Philadelphia,3:30 p.m., Univision

Sept. 29 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., FS1

Oct. 2 at Montreal, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 16 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 20 vs. NYCFC, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 27 vs. Inter Miami, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Oct. 30 vs. Toronto, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 3 at New York Red Bulls, TBD, BSSO/BSSE

Nov. 7 at Cincinnati, 3:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE