Ezequiel Barco: The player to change MLS history for Atlanta United

In years to come people may look back on the way new MLS franchise Atlanta United went about their early business and see it as a watershed moment in the history of football in the United States.

Not content with breaking attendance records and becoming only the fourth team in the 25-year history of MLS to make the playoffs in an expansion season, The Five Stripes have now pulled off one of the most remarkable transfer coups in history with talented teenager Ezequiel Barco joining the ranks.

Argentina has been football’s number one exporter of world class talent since the 1920s.

Europe would take the cream of the crop leaving MLS clubs usually in the market for players a level below that or at an advanced stage in their careers where opportunities have perhaps passed.

Atlanta United, however, have had other ideas and approached their maiden season with almost unparalleled ambition. Former Argentina manager Gerardo Martino was at the helm and the club utilised his knowledge of the South American market and some astute scouting to bring in Paraguayan All-Star Miguel Almirón, Venezuelan goal machine Josef Martínez, speed-merchant Héctor Villalba and Vélez youngster Yamil Asad among others.

An outstanding debut campaign ended with Atlanta finishing fourth overall in the MLS standings before losing in the playoffs to Columbus Crew on penalties but has left the club hungry for more.

To read the rest of this article, click here to visit the CricketSoccer website

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