Atlanta United’s Alex De John ready to be next player up

Atlanta United defender Alex De John (left) warms up before the match against Chicago Fire FC on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Photo by Dakota Williams/Atlanta United)

Credit: Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

caption arrowCaption
Atlanta United defender Alex De John (left) warms up before the match against Chicago Fire FC on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Photo by Dakota Williams/Atlanta United)

Credit: Dakota Williams/Atlanta United

Alex De John appears to be the next player up at centerback for Atlanta United after the season-ending injury to Miles Robinson.

Robinson underwent surgery Monday to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered in Saturday’s 4-1 win against Chicago. Atlanta United will play at Nashville on Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup.

ExploreAtlanta United’s Miles Robinson likely out for rest of MLS season

De John replaced Robinson on Saturday. He and Alan Franco are the only two remaining healthy centerbacks with MLS experience. George Campbell didn’t train Monday but may do so Tuesday, according to manager Gonzalo Pineda, making it unlikely he will be available Wednesday. The team hosts New England on Sunday when league play resumes.

“Injuries are part of the sports,” De John said. “Things happen to you, and I’ve got to be ready.”

De John signed with the club before the 2021 season after spending the previous two seasons with Orlando.

His 72 minutes Saturday were his first in a league game this season, which Pineda said made him proud because De John was prepared and executed. He and Franco formed a good partnership.

ExploreRonaldo Cisneros filling void for Atlanta United at striker

“I think (Saturday) went well,” De John said. “The language barrier is going to be a little difficult. But, you know, football is universal. So there’s other ways to communicate, and it’s going to be good.”

De John said he doesn’t think Robinson’s loss will affect what Atlanta United attempts to do tactically. Pineda has stressed he knows only one way to manage. The team is going to continue to try to dominate possession to create quality scoring chances. Its four goals against Chicago were a season high.

De John described Robinson’s injury as “devastating” personally because of his performances and potential to start for the U.S. in the World Cup in November.

But it was a good sign for the club that it bounced back to secure the victory despite losing a fourth player this season to a season-ending injury. The others were midfielder Ozzie Alonso (ACL) and goalkeepers Brad Guzan and Dylan Castanheira.

“It’s expensive,” De John said. “Every win is important; every game is important. Every point in the league is important. So you don’t really know until the end of the year, but we set out every single game and now I feel like we’ve set a level that we have dictated with all the injuries, and we’ve got to maintain that level and keep raising it even a bit more.”

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Atlanta United’s 2022 MLS schedule

Feb. 27 Atlanta United 3, Sporting KC 1

March 5 Colorado 3, Atlanta United 0

March 13 Atlanta United 2, Charlotte 1

March 19 Atlanta United 3, Montreal 3

April 2 Atlanta United 1, D.C. United 0

April 10 Charlotte 1, Atlanta United 0

April 16 Atlanta United 0, Cincinnati 0

April 24 Miami 2, Atlanta United 1

April 30 Montreal 2, Atlanta United 1

May 7 Atlanta United 4, Chicago 1

May 15 vs. New England, 1:30 p.m., ESPN

May 21 at Nashville, 7:30 p.m. FOX

May 28 vs. Columbus Crew, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 19 vs. Miami, 3 p.m., ESPN2

June 25 at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

June 30 at New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 3 at NYCFC, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 9 vs. Austin, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 13 vs. Real Salt Lake, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

July 17 vs. Orlando, 3 p.m., ABC

July 24 at L.A. Galaxy, 9:30 p.m., FS1

July 30 at Chicago, 5 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 6 vs. Seattle, 3 p.m., ABC

Aug. 13 at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m. BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 17 vs. New York Red Bulls, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Aug. 21 at Columbus, 6 p.m., FS1

Aug. 28 vs. D.C. United, 4 p.m., UNIV

Aug. 31 at Philadelphia, 7 p.m., FS1

Sept. 4 at Portland, 5:30 p.m., FOX

Sept. 10 vs. Toronto, 7:30 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 14 at Orlando, 6 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

Sept. 17 vs. Philadelphia, 3:30 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 1 at New England, 1 p.m., UniMas

Oct. 9 vs. NYCFC, TBD, BSSO/BSSE

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