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

Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson reacts after being injured during the team's game against Chicago Fire FC on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Daniel Varnado/for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson reacts after being injured during the team's game against Chicago Fire FC on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Daniel Varnado/for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Atlanta United’s Miles Robinson will likely miss the rest of the MLS season and possibly the World Cup after suffering a ruptured left Achilles tendon in the first half of Saturday’s 4-1 win against Chicago at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

ExploreRobinson falls to turf untouched against Chicago

The team provided the injury update on its captain Monday but didn’t provide a timeline for his return. Achilles injuries typically take at least six months of recovery. Robinson was scheduled to undergo surgery Monday afternoon.

Robinson, 25, suffered the injury during the 14th minute. He is the third player on the team to suffer a ruptured Achilles this season. Backup goalkeeper Dylan Castanheira suffered one during training on grass on April 6. Starting goalkeeper Brad Guzan suffered one during a game against Cincinnati on April 16 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which has turf. Manager Gonzalo Pineda said Robinson told the medical staff after the injury that he had felt fine during warm-ups. There was no forewarning.

The injury to Robinson will likely cost him a chance to represent the U.S. in the World Cup in Qatar in November. He was an integral part of the national team during its qualifying games.

Pineda said he spoke to Robinson and described the conversation as sad.

“I normally try to have some answers, some words of comfort,” Pineda said. “I don’t think there’s anything I can tell him in my estimation to make him feel better. All I can say is we’re with you. We’re all with you. We all love you. Throughout this process, we are proud of calling this team a family. He is one of our brothers, and we’re going to be with him, but there’s nothing I can tell him from this. It’s just a bad situation for many different levels.”

Alex De John came on for Robinson against Chicago. The team also has George Campbell, who is also injured.

Robinson was the team’s first selection, No. 2 overall, in the 2017 draft after a standout career at Syracuse. Robinson didn’t become a starter until 2019 but became one of the best defenders in MLS.

He has 96 appearances, including 85 starts, for the Five Stripes. After Guzan suffered his injury, Pineda made Robinson the team’s captain because of his experience, durability and leadership.

“Miles has been here since the beginning,” De John said. “He’s won championships here; they won Open Cup. He’s one of the best centerbacks in the league, starting centerback for our nation. He leads by example, on the field. He brings it every week. It’s obviously a tough loss. But the guys have to get together. We need to win games; we need to win trophies. And just next man up.”

ExploreMore AJC coverage of Atlanta United

Pineda said on Saturday the team has done a self-analysis to try to pinpoint why its players have suffered so many injuries this season. He said there is nothing that can be done differently and summed it up as “bad luck.”

In addition to Guzan, Robinson and Castanheira, midfielder Ozzie Alonso will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn ACL after a tackle against D.C. United. Other players who have missed numerous games because of injury or recovery include Machop Chol, Matheus Rossetto, Franco Ibarra, Santiago Sosa, Josef Martinez, Luiz Araujo, Emerson Hyndman, Campbell, Caleb Wiley and Dom Dwyer.

Pineda said he doesn’t think the turf used in the stadium is the cause of the injuries. De John also said he doesn’t think it’s a factor.

Pineda said the sports science staff gathers information after every injury, starting with one sustained by Jake Mulraney during the preseason, to try to assess the cause. The information ranges from the workload the players have experienced, to the perceived workload, to things one wouldn’t consider such as the hardness of the training pitch. He said members of the club have reached out to doctors, scientists and teams around the country to try to gather information. Pineda said there is no commonality to the injuries suffered by the players this season. He said the three Achilles injuries were completely different.

“We are still doing that work,” he said. “We are still trying to do more research. And hopefully we can have some answers. But at the moment, nothing is conclusive.”

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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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