He scored five goals, including three in the playoffs, with six assists. He started and helped the club win the MLS Cup in 2018, scoring the second goal in the 2-0 win, and Campeones Cup and came on as a late sub in the U.S. Open Cup in 2019.
But Escobar didn’t fit the profile of what Heinze wanted. At Velez Sarsfield, the club Heinze managed before joining Atlanta United, the fullbacks passed the ball forward more frequently than did Franco under Atlanta United’s previous managers, according to data provided by Bocanegra. In the the middle third and attacking third, there was a significant difference statistically and visually in Velez’s fullbacks doing what Heinze wanted with what Escobar did. As an example of the difference in profiles, Bocanegra noted in attacking actions, which includes crosses and take-ons, Escobar was in the 16th percentile for defenders in MLS in 2018 and 22nd in 2019.
“It doesn’t mean they are a better player or worse player, it’s just a different profile,” Bocanegra said. “It was just a different type of profile that we look for when we make that decision.”
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Feb. 27 vs. Sporting KC, 3 p.m.
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