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Darlington Nagbe, Franco Escobar return to Atlanta United training

Jun 2, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta United midfielder Darlington Nagbe (6) passes against the Philadelphia Union during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

MARIETTA, Ga. — Remember that bit Atlanta United’s social media team did a few weeks ago where it made manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino look like Super Mario of Nintendo fame?

Well, the Five Stripes jumped into some bricks and found two “1-Up’s” this week, giving them an added boost ahead of their Saturday clash with the Colorado Rapids.

Previously injured players Franco Escobar and Darlington Nagbe returned to full training Tuesday at the club’s training grounds in Marietta, Ga.

Exactly how fit the pair are is unknown, but if they’re ready to play in a match, Martino could have some difficult lineup decisions to make Saturday.

Escobar, 23, has played in just one of the club’s last four games dating back to Aug. 4. The Argentine right back suffered a right quad strain in training after Atlanta’s 3-1 win at Columbus on Aug. 19.

The 5-foot-9 defender came to Atlanta this offseason via transfer from Newell’s, Martino’s former club. Escobar has missed 10 games this season due to injury, but Atlanta has won 11 of the 17 games he has appeared in.

Nagbe, 28, also arrived in Atlanta this past offseason via trade with the Portland Timbers, where Nagbe spent the first seven years of his MLS career.

The 5-foot-9 midfielder started and played in Atlanta’s first 17 games this season. Playing as a No. 8, Nagbe had one of the highest passing accuracy marks in the league, along with three assists. He was voted to the MLS All-Star Team.

But in a rematch with his old club June 24, Nagbe went down in the 56th minute and was subbed off. It was later determined he had a “right adductor injury” and would miss two to three months of playing time.

Atlanta went 6-2-2 in Nagbe’s absence, but he and Escobar are returning just in time to give the Five Stripes depth as they continue their run towards the Supporter’s Shield. Atlanta has locked up a playoff berth, but trails the New York Red Bulls by a point in the standings.

Notes

>> ATL UTD 2, Atlanta’s United Soccer League affiliate that plays in nearby Gwinnett County, Ga., announced Monday it acquired Rodolfo Freitas da Silva on loan from Fresno FC. A 24-year-old Brazilian striker, Rodolfo was already on loan to Fresno from Brazilian club Palmeiras. He appeared in five USL games for Fresno and started in the club’s U.S. Open Cup match, tallying one assist. Rodolfo’s loan with ATL UTD 2 is good until the end of the USL season.

>> Brad Guzan’s backup, Alec Kann, got some work with ATL UTD 2 last weekend, making five saves on 17 faced shots in a 2-1 road win for the USL side at Penn FC.

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