July 21, 2018 - Atlanta United head coach Gerardo Martino shouts instructions during the second half in a MLS soccer game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday, July 21, 2018. Three more goals from Josef Martinez set a new MLS record lifted Atlanta United to a 3-1 victory over D.C. United on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Could Martino leave Atlanta United?

Atlanta United declined to comment Tuesday about a report that manager Gerardo Martino has had two discussion with the Argentina Football Association about another go-round as the national team’s manager.

Martino, a native of Argentina, is in his second season managing Atlanta United in MLS. He is scheduled to meet with the media Thursday to preview Saturday’s game at Colorado.

Martino managed the Argentina national team from 2014-16. 

» More: Martino denies conversations with Argentinian soccer team

Martino’s contract  with Atlanta United expires after this season. However, both sides have options to extend the contract. Martino didn’t want to discuss his contract two weeks ago, saying he was focused only on catching the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference.

Based upon his success with Atlanta United, as well as history with clubs throughout South America, the Paraguayan national team and Barcelona, Martino has been tied to most national team jobs that have recently come open in North or South America, including those for the U.S., Paraguay (now filled), Colombia and Mexico.

Losing Martino could put the brakes on Atlanta United’s momentum. The Five Stripes became the first MLS expansion team since Seattle in 2009 to make the playoffs last season. The team has clinched a spot in the playoffs this season and is the favorite to win the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup.

The team has several players from South America on its roster. Though Martino consistently says that he typically doesn’t have a role in player recruitment, many of those players, including Miguel Almiron, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Ezequiel Barco and Franco Escobar, have said that among the reasons they agreed to come to MLS and Atlanta United was the chance to work with Martino, known as “Tata.”

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