confirmed that Argentine head coach Gerardo "Tata" Martino has declined to extend his contract with the MLS club and will leave after the 2018 season.
Martino, who previously led Paraguay to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup and Argentina to second place at the 2015 Copa America, immediately built Atlanta United into one of the most exciting teams in MLS, luring such players as Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez to MLS.
Best record over two seasons. The Five Stripes have a one-point lead over the New York Red Bulls in the battle for the 2018 Supporters' Shield and have qualified for the 2019 Concacaf Champions League with the best record in the last two MLS seasons -- its first two seasons in the league.
Atlanta United's 69 points have tied the MLS record set by Toronto FC in 2017, and its 21 wins are tied the Red Bulls for an MLS record.
Atlanta United Photo
No announcement has been made, but Martino is expected to become Mexico's national team coach. That announcement should come after Atlanta
United's season ends.
“This was not an easy decision to make," said Martino, who also coached Newell's Old Boys and Barcelona in recent years. "I have enjoyed my time with Atlanta United very much and am proud of what we have accomplished together in such a short time. The decision was not made for financial reasons, negotiations with the front office were transparent and fair. It was simply the right move for me and my family at this time. The opportunity to build a team from the start does not come along often, and I am grateful to the club and to the fans for putting their trust in me to establish a solid foundation here in Atlanta. What is most important now is that the focus remain on our goals for this season.”
The name most often mentioned as the successor to Martino is Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who starred for the Columbus Crew when it won the 2008 MLS title and coaches Boca Juniors.
Atlanta United has reportedly agreed to acquire Boca star Pity Martinez. He would presumably be the replacement for Almiron, who is expected to be transferred to a club in England during the winter transfer window.