Atlanta United

Ezequiel Barco reveals he's 'very happy' at Atlanta United

Chris Smith
Barco has six goals and five assists in his last nine MLS appearances.
Barco has six goals and five assists in his last nine MLS appearances. / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Ezequiel Barco has revealed he is "very happy" in Atlanta as he enjoys an incredible recent run of form.

Prior to joining the Argentina squad for the Olympic games, Barco managed just one goal and zero assists in eight MLS appearances.

However, since returning from Tokyo, the 22-year-old has notched six goals and five assists in nine games, registering at least one direct goal involvement in eight of those appearances.

Barco opened the scoring with a stunning free-kick as Atlanta United beat Eastern Conference playoff rivals DC United 3-2 on Saturday night before setting up Josef Martinez to make it 2-0 with his 99th goal for the club.

The Five Stripes had to battle hard as DC wouldn't lay down but in the end, emerged with three vital points. Speaking to reporters after the match, Barco - formerly the most expensive signing in MLS history - spoke of how happy he is in Atlanta, while also revealing the struggle he's gone through to reach this positive place.

“Yes, I’m very happy in Atlanta. With the team and the whole coaching staff. I’m very happy and in a good moment where I’m happy," Barco responded when asked about his recent form.

"It was tough for me to find happiness in Atlanta and today, as I said, my teammates and all the people at the club are helping me to be comfortable, calm and with confidence.”

On what has changed for him since returning from Tokyo, Barco added: “I’ve said it before, but at the beginning of the season I came into the year with a new way of thinking. I was very convinced to start well and have a good year in Atlanta.

"At the Olympics, unfortunately, we weren’t able to advance. But after, I came back motivated to help the team and at the time we were going through a difficult moment. I’ve been preparing myself to be well physically and mentally and able to help the team in the best way I can.”

Atlanta have now won seven out of their last eight MLS matches, a remarkable turnaround after picking up just two victories in their opening 17 outings.

As a result, the Five Stripes are now fifth in the Eastern Conference, four points clear of Inter Miami who sit just underneath the playoff line.

Next up for Gonzalo Pineda's men is a trip to the Philadelphia Union.