Atlanta United Was an Instant Success. Now Comes the Hard Part.

Whoever replaces Martino — a number of information experiences have pointed to Guillermo Barros Schelotto of Boca Juniors, a former M.L.S. participant, as a prime candidate — could have solely weeks to settle in earlier than the Champions League kicks off.

“I feel that’s the most important problem they’ve,” Lagerwey mentioned, including, “They must get a brand new coach to return in and be in step with their philosophy and id.”

In Martino’s departure, introduced earlier than the tip of the common season, Atlanta United additionally will lose a significant recruiting piece. The workforce’s South American stars Miguel Almirón and Josef Martínez each cited Martino, referred to as Tata, as a major cause they joined the membership, sight unseen, earlier than its first-ever sport.

However now Almirón might be on the way in which out; the 24-year-old Paraguayan, who had 12 objectives and 14 assists this yr, is reportedly headed to Europe. Martinez, who set the M.L.S. single-season scoring document with 31 objectives en path to most beneficial participant honors this season, might depart for the precise supply, too.

That’s not to say this was not all by design. Darren Eales, Atlanta United’s president, mentioned the workforce totally anticipated Martino to depart after two years. And the workforce has already reportedly discovered a substitute for Almirón: Gonzalo Martinez of Argentina’s River Plate, who is predicted to hitch this low season. Additionally ready within the wings is Ezequiel Barco, the 18-year-old who was signed in January for a league-record switch charge.

“It’s actually about the way you’re positioned by way of replacements, the way you’re constructing the tradition across the membership,” Eales mentioned in explaining the workforce’s roster-building mentality, including, “There’s that journey of understanding the worldwide nature of the sport and coming to phrases with it.”

For Atlanta, and M.L.S., it’s not nearly filling roster holes, nevertheless. Figuring out and growing younger gamers with the intention of promoting them has been on the core of Atlanta United’s enterprise mannequin from the beginning. It’s a course of the league acknowledges must occur extra usually for the league to develop. Already this yr, M.L.S. has seen the departures of promising younger gamers like Vancouver’s Alphonso Davies (to Bayern Munich) and Purple Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams (to Germany’s RB Leipzig).

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