Atlanta United have not been strangers to providing the platform for players to improve and seek bigger moves. Miguel Almiron is a prime example, while Josef Martinez could easily be the next in line for that big move. But silently, young Ezequiel Barco is proving that he can achieve the same feats very soon.
Barco happens to be much younger than Martinez and he’s already impressing many in Major League Soccer. He is 21 and is seen as the future of the club and his country. That, in itself, isn’t an easy thing to do for someone who is still pretty young.
It isn’t strange to see another South American player use the MLS as a potential stepping stone for the future. Cristian Pavon seems to be doing the same. Barco, like Pavon, had joined his current club from a South American giant in Independiente. And like Pavon, he had broken into the first-team of his former club before the MLS move came about.
In his last season in Argentina, Barco had contributed to three goals in eight games and was making a name for himself. In the 2016-17 campaign, he had played 29 league games and had contributed to six goals.
The move to Atlanta came for a fee of €12.28 million. That was instant proof of how the club meant business with the Argentine as investing that much money on a player isn’t child’s play, especially when it is about a teenager.
While it is fair to say that Barco’s numbers aren’t overly impressive, but he’s still only improving. The 2019 edition of the MLS saw him play 18 games in the league. He contributed to seven goals, out of which four were goals. The 2018 season was his first in the league and that had seen Barco contribute to six goals and provided him the platform to go on and impress.
But the new season has proved that Barco might just be stepping up a gear. The 21-year-old has already scored twice and has assisted once in just a couple of games. It is the best start to the season that he has had so far in the MLS and one of the reasons bettingtips.ke are tipping Atlanta for the MLS title.
Against Nashville recently, Barco played as the left-sided inside forward in Atlanta’s 3-4-2-1 shape. He was one of the best players on the pitch. Barco completed two dribbles in the game and his pace was a constant threat to the opposition. Not just that, he also won two tackles to prove how good he can be off the ball.
He was one of the best players against Cincinnati as well. He completed just one dribble but his passing stood at an impressive 89 percent and he had one key pass to his name. He won a single tackle, again proving that he can be the complete player that everyone wants him to be and move towards that elusive Bonus Spins 2021 crown.
Martinez’s ACL injury has seen Barco get some crucial game-time and he is taking full advantage of that. And it is concrete proof to how he has that personality which can set him apart in the future. Given the chance, he is taking it with both hands and trying to replace a very crucial player in the team. For him and Atlanta, it means a lot.
Considering his age, this season can be huge for Barco. If he plays well, he can go onto play for a bigger club and get a move that he will probably deserve.