Atlanta United will be represented at next month’s Major League Soccer All-Star Game with five players on the roster. Ezequiel Barco, Leandro González-Pírez, Brad Guzan and Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez all earned Fan XI selections. Josef Martínez joined the roster as a coach’s selection.
The Fan XI was chosen via online voting. The 26-player MLS All-Star roster also includes two representatives chosen by league commissioner Don Garber and 13 more selected by the team’s coach, Orlando City SC manager James O’Connor.
Guzan and Barco will play in the All-Star Game for the second consecutive season. González-Pírez and Martínez, who signed with Atlanta from River Plate in January, received their first All-Star nods.
Guzan leads MLS with eight clean sheets in 2019. Barco has four goals and one assist in eight league games this season, and he recently starred for Argentina in a last-16 run at the Under-20 World Cup in Poland. González-Pírez has once again been a rock at centerback for Atlanta. Josef Martínez, currently away with the Venezuela men’s national team at the Copa America in Brazil, has 13 goals in 19 games across all competitions this year.
Pity Martínez likely is one of the more controversial All-Star picks. With one goal and two assists through 14 league appearances, the 2018 South American Footballer of the Year has gotten off to a disappointing start with the Five Stripes.
Last year, the league’s All-Stars played Juventus at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and Josef Martínez scored in front of his home fans. The Italian champions prevailed in a penalty shootout.
The 2019 MLS All-Stars will meet La Liga giants Atletico Madrid Wednesday, July 31, at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla., home of Orlando City. The Atlanta United contingent is sure to receive a warm welcome.