Barco Watch has taken on a new and unexpected meaning. Ezequiel Barco will remain benched for the third straight match, Tata Martino confirmed at his pre-match media availability on Friday.
“He’s fulfilling our expectations. He’s training very well,” Martino said. “The original plan was we made a decision between the club and the coaching staff. That ended, and what’s coming now is only my decision.
“I understand it’s been a difficult period for him, but as I said before, he misbehaved and misbehaviors have their consequences. He still has to deal with those consequences, and from now on it will be my decision looking at how he’s doing every week to decide.”
The club have not gone into specifics about why Barco has been benched other than he committed an “act of indiscipline.”
Despite playing 30 minutes in the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday, the 19-year-old will miss out on the matchday squad when Atlanta United host Toronto FC on Saturday.
Barco has continued to train with the team like normal and the club has made sure to make it clear that this isn’t a “suspension” but just him not being picked by the manager.
Martino has selected two different lineups without Barco. At home against D.C. United he gave Andrew Carleton his first-ever MLS start. On the road against Montreal Impact, he elected to insert Eric Remedi into the lineup and go for a more defensive approach. We can only speculate at home he’ll go about against Toronto.
The team has gone 2-0 in Barco’s absence.