ATLANTA — Atlanta United FC’s depth at fullback just took another hit.
Mikey Ambrose had surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus recently and will miss three to four months of playing time, the club announced Monday.
Ambrose, 24, was seen on crutches last week at events for the 2018 MLS All-Star Game. The announcing of his injury comes just days after the club announced fellow outside back Sal Zizzo will miss three to four months after undergoing surgery for a similar injury.
The club is already without starting fullback and 2017 All-Star Greg Garza, who had surgery to repair his shoulder in June. At the time of his surgery, the club said he would be back within four to six months, making October the earliest he would return.
On Saturday, the Five Stripes 2-2 draw against Toronto FC, manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino included 16-year-old George Bello on the 18-man gameday roster. Bello has played fullback with ATL UTD 2, the club’s United Soccer League affiliate, but has never seen action in an MLS game.
Because of the injuries and Franco Escobar’s suspension — due to his yellow card accumulation —Martino played Jeff Larentowicz at right centerback on Saturday in a 3-5-2 formation. The 35-year-old typically plays as a central defensive midfielder.
When Garza went down it came at a time when Chris McCann was also banged up. Martino called on Ambrose to fill in. He played well and started six straight matches. The Five Stripes went 3-1-2 in that stretch. In all, Ambrose has played in nine MLS games this season and tallied two assists.
Ambrose got hurt playing for ATL UTD 2 on July 25 against Nashville SC. The University of Maryland product has played in six games with the USL side, all starts, and notched two goals, nine clearances, 15 interceptions and eight key passes.
A native of El Paso, Texas, Ambrose came to Atlanta United in 2016 when Orlando City SC left him unprotected in the expansion draft. He is one of Atlanta’s lowest-paid regular contributors, making an annual salary of $68,906.
Atlanta United is 14-4-6 this season, sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference and in first place for the Supporter’s Shield race with 48 points. The Five Stripes are off until Aug. 19 when they host the Columbus Crew.