Atlanta United and FC Dallas may represent the haves and have-nots of MLS spending power but both sides are struggling to maintain a healthy team amid the condensed schedule of the 2020 MLS season.
FC Dallas weathered its small injury crisis after losing three players to injury in a recent game with Sporting Kansas City. Luchi Gonzalez’s team remains without Paxton Pomykal, who’s out for the season, as well as Kyle Zobeck who developed a groin issue towards the end of the team’s 4-1 win over Colorado.
What Dallas does need to deal with is tired minds and tired legs. Gonzalez used the weekend’s 3-2 win over SKC to give some rest to Andres Ricaurte, Michael Barrios, and Ryan Hollingshead and continued talking about rotation in his media availability on Monday with a big hint that Reto Ziegler may take a seat.
“With the next game coming up shortly, there will be some rotations you guys will see,” said Gonzalez. “We’ve got a player like Bressan that’s always ready to step in.”
Two players guaranteed to stay in Dallas are Thiago Santos and Bryan Acosta after picking up one-game suspensions.
Santos will miss the trip to Atlanta due to yellow card accumulation. Santos’ yellow card against Sporting Kansas City came as the midfielder took an entire minute to take a free kick late in the game in what could be considered an intentional move to gain rest and wipe the disciplinary slate clean.
Acosta received a red card in the 90th minute for a second bookable offense.
Atlanta United aren’t without their own problems with Josef Martinez joining Pomykal on the season-ending injury list. Interim coach Stephen Glass will also be without Mexican duo Jurgen Damm (hamstring) and Erick “Cubo” Torres (knee) as Atlanta seeks its first win in seven games.
Without Martinez, and now Torres, the Five Stripes have moved to sign Marcelino Moreno as the team’s latest Designated Player, although the Argentine will not join up with the team until after Wednesday’s game.
The decisions on resting players have been complicated by Major League Soccer arranging fixtures in three phases, in part due to complications with the league’s three Canadian teams.
“They’re all important,” said Gonzalez. “How we prioritize one or the other, that’s a day to day, moment to moment process and we’re going through that now. We didn’t know that we would be playing Atlanta two weeks ago, or Orlando two weeks ago, we find that out in this next phase with MLS. It’s been with this kind of year. We’re just taking things in stride and staying steady.”