Atlanta United head coach Frank de Boer (center) and assistant coaches take the bench for the game against Orlando City in a MLS soccer match on Sunday, May 12, 2019, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Gressel held out, Barco on way back as Atlanta United returns to training

Heading into the 2019 U.S. Open Cup play, Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer updated the status of several players. 

According to de Boer, midfielder Julian Gressel returned to training with some tightness in his muscles, including  but not limited to his hamstring. He will not travel to Charleston for Tuesday night’s game. The game will be streamed on ESPN-plus.

“He’s one of the players who covers the most meters every game, so its good to pull the trigger out,” de Boer said. 

Atlanta United is not scheduled to return to MLS play until June 26 at Toronto. It will have another U.S. Open Cup game before should it win Tuesday.

Hector Villalba was sent home to Argentina to be with his family. He is scheduled to return Wednesday, and de Boer said the plan is to have him for MLS play. Ezequiel Barco is scheduled to return from the U20 World Cup with Argentina on Tuesday, and can participate in light training Wednesday. 

De Boer also addressed rumors of Barco to Napoli of Serie Side A. He explained the club “hasn’t heard (anything) serious” other than rumors he’s seen or read in newspapers. But he also acknowledged it as a part of the game, when teams are playing well other clubs are interested in acquiring their players.

The same goes for adding players in the transfer market, which de Boer indicated he wanted to do after Atlanta United’s 2-0 win over the Chicago Fire on June 1. 

In the same way he approaches his players leaving, the players understand the other side of it is also part of the game.

“We don’t read too much into it, anything can happen,” defender Michael Parkhurst said. “Every club everywhere is always looking to upgrade and they’re always looking for the best players on the field. … It’s up to us to prove that they can’t upgrade us and make it difficult for them to go out and find somebody that’s better than you.”

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