Atlanta United’s Barco will miss Miami game

Gabriel Heinze blames schedule makers

Atlanta United’s Ezequiel Barco will miss Sunday’s game against Miami, and manager Gabriel Heinze put some of the responsibility for his absence on those who make the MLS and Champions League schedules.

“It has been a long time since players played in 2-3 days,” Heinze said through an interpreter. “Just ask people in charge who put together these schedules. They only see the football players and less and less the human beings. People in this position don’t know what it’s like to be a soccer player. It’s going to be get worse and worse.”

Atlanta United opened its 2021 season by playing seven games in less than a month, including three in a span of eight days that ended with Philadelphia eliminating the team from the Champions League tournament. The Five Stripes will play at Miami on Sunday. That will start a stretch of games every six or seven days.

Barco’s injury was described by the team as “lower body.” He could be seen grabbing his hamstring as he walked off the field at New England on May 1. Earlier in that game, Jurgen Damm also left early and could be seen grabbing his hamstring. Neither played in the 1-1 draw against Philadelphia on Tuesday. Damm also is out for Sunday. Barco leads Atlanta United with two goals in seven games. Damm has one goal.

Heinze’s point about schedule congestion is a constant complaint lobbed by those who follow MLS with regard to the Champions League. MLS teams compete in the tournament at the beginning of their seasons. Teams in Mexico and the rest of Central America are in the middle of or near the end of their seasons.

Not having Barco is disappointing but not surprising because the midfielder has had unfortunate luck staying on the field as an Atlanta United player. He appeared in 26 of 34 games in 2018, 15 of 34 in 2019 and 15 of 23 last season. He has missed some games because of call-ups to Argentina’s youth national teams. The majority of his absences were because of injuries.

In MLS this season, Barco had logged 223 minutes in three appearances and 270 minutes in three Champions League games. He logged 1,034 minutes in league games last season and 980 minutes in league games in 2019.

Also out for Atlanta United against Miami are Machop Chol (lower body), Alec Kann (shoulder) and Lisandro Lopez (personal). Mo Adams has been upgraded to questionable.

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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 at Inter Miami, 1 p.m., ABC

May 15 vs. Montreal, 7 p.m., BSSO/BSSE

May 23 at Seattle, 4:30 p.m., Fox

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, B7 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

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