There’s a ‘chance’ Atlanta United’s Barco plays against Toronto

Atlanta United midfielder Ezequiel Barco (8) controls the ball against Orlando City midfielder Jhegson Sebas Mendez (8) during the second half of an MLS soccer match on Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Credit: Brynn Anderson

Credit: Brynn Anderson

Stephen Glass has said it before, but Friday he said there’s a “chance” that Ezequiel Barco could play in Sunday’s game at Toronto.

Glass said that Barco, Marcelino Moreno and Franco Escobar trained Friday. They will be evaluated and a decision made after Saturday’s training session. Moreno, a midfielder and Designated Player, and Escobar, a defender, didn’t play in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Miami. Glass said the three actually trained more than the rest of the group on Friday.

Barco, a midfielder and Designated Player, has missed the past seven games with an undisclosed injury but has been consistently described as day to day by Glass and Vice President Carlos Bocanegra.

Atlanta United will needs its best players at least to play arguably their best game this season to have a chance to defeat Toronto, which has twice as many points (38-19) as the Five Stripes and is leading the race for the Supporters’ Shield. Atlanta United in the 10th and final playoff spot in the East. It could finish the weekend as high as eighth or as low as 12th, depending upon other results.

Atlanta United’s offense has struggled in recent games, with one goal scored in its past three. That one goal came in the 83rd minute at Miami and was its first shot on goal in the game. A healthy Barco, who has two goals and three assists, and Moreno would help. Moreno has played in one game, a 1-0 loss to the Red Bulls. He didn’t travel with the team to Miami because he hadn’t recovered well enough from the 61 minutes played Oct. 10.

The Toronto game will be Atlanta United’s fifth in 15 days. Glass said the lineup for the game will be finalized tomorrow. Having played so many games in so few days, Glass said he will talk to the players about what he will need from them in terms of minutes Sunday. He said he may also use the data compiled by the team’s sports scientists from training sessions and games. That data can indicate which players are more likely to be able to go X-amount of minutes in a game.

Additionally, Glass said that defender/midfielder Brooks Lennon should be available Sunday. Lennon appeared to sustain discomfort in right leg during the Miami game. After mis-hitting a pass across the field and out of bounds, Lennon went to ground and motioned for trainers. Lennon has been the team’s most dependable player, with 17 starts as part of 18 appearances this season. He has two goals and two assists.

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Atlanta United coming games

Sunday at Toronto (6-2-4) in Hartford, Conn., 7:30 p.m., FSSE

Oct. 24 vs. D.C. United (2-5-5), 4 p.m., FSSE

Oct. 28 at Orlando (6-2-4), 7:30 p.m., FS1

Nov. 1 vs. Cincinnati (3-6-3), 7 p.m., FSSE

Nov. 8 at Columbus (8-1-3), 3:30 p.m., FSSE

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