Atlanta United’s Barco headed to Olympics

Team may be without five starters for a few games

Atlanta United’s roster is growing more thin by the day.

In addition to losing starters George Bello, Miles Robinson and Brad Guzan to the U.S. for the coming Gold Cup tournament, manager Gabriel Heinze said Thursday that starting midfielder Ezequiel Barco will play for Argentina in the Olympics in Tokyo and that starting midfielder Franco Ibarra will miss at least the next two weeks because of an injury sustained in last week’s draw with Red Bulls.

Soccer at the Olympics is scheduled to start July 21 and end Aug. 7. Barco could miss the following games: July 17 vs. New England, July 21 at Cincinnati, July 24 vs. Columbus, July 30 at Orlando, Aug. 4 at Montreal and Aug. 7 at Columbus. Barco has seven appearances with one goal and one assist for Atlanta United this season.

The players headed to the Gold Cup are scheduled to arrive in the U.S. camp July 5, with the first training session July 6. The players likely will miss at least two of Atlanta United’s games: July 8 at Nashville and July 17 vs. New England. Should the U.S. continue to advance, they also would miss games scheduled July 21 at Cincinnati, July 24 vs. Columbus, and July 30 at Orlando.

Heinze said the absences of the players will provide opportunities for some of the less-experienced players such as Machop Chol and Tyler Wolff to earn minutes.

Heinze said the absences won’t affect the team’s strategy for potential acquisitions in the coming transfer window. He said they’ve been analyzing the market for weeks.

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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 Atlanta United 2, Nashville 2

June 20 Atlanta United 2, Philadelphia 2

June 23 NYCFC 1, Atlanta United 0

June 27 Atlanta United 0, New York Red Bulls 0

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