Development of Miles Robinson, George Bello and Santiago Sosa. Barco isn’t the only asset the club has. Robinson, Bello and possibly Sosa, if they play well this season, could become targets of clubs in Europe. Buying Americans seems to be the rage right now, and Robinson and Bello did earn call-ups to the U.S. men’s national team last year. Both are fast, strong, aggressive and smart. A year under Heinze could be enormous for Bello in his reading of situations. It also could benefit Robinson on how to take advantage of set pieces. Sosa may have more potential than either of them. He just needs consistent playing time, something he wasn’t getting at River Plate, to fulfill his potential. All three looked very good in the team’s first two games in the Champions League in helping the squad post consecutive shutouts.
How Heinze uses the depth. Atlanta United’s schedule is packed. Because of international breaks mandated by FIFA for national-team competitions, the Five Stripes’ schedule is 34 league games compressed into 23 weeks. The team will play on short rest (four or less days from one game to next) at least 12 times. There’s also the Champions League and possibly the U.S. Open Cup. Heinze can’t favor starting the same 11 again and again. The good news is this team potentially ranks among the deepest in the East. If Josef Martinez can’t start, bring on Lisandro Lopez with his 190 goals scored during his career, or Erick Torres. If Barco needs a rest, there’s Moreno or Jake Mulraney or Erik Lopez, depending upon the position. If Lennon needs a rest, bring on Ronald Hernandez. It goes on and on.
The Homegrowns. In addition to Bello, the team has five more Homegrowns: centerbacks George Campbell and Efrain Morales, winger Machop Chol, midfielder Tyler Wolff and striker Jackson Conway. Depending upon COVID-19 protocols agreed to by MLS and USL, it seems likely that these players are going to train most of the time with Atlanta United, but earn most of their playing minutes this season with Atlanta United 2. That’s OK. They need playing minutes to improve so that when Heinze does need them to make a spot start or come off the bench they will be ready.