Former Manchester United and Argentina left back Gabriel Heinze is SACKED as Atlanta United boss

Former Manchester United and Argentina left back Gabriel Heinze has been sacked as Atlanta United manager after just 13 league games and two wins in charge. 

The 43-year-old took over last December following Frank de Boer’s sacking and the interim stewardship of Stephen Glass, with the team finishing 12th out of the 14 teams in the 2020 Eastern Conference before Heinze’s arrival. 

Heinze leaves the Five Stripes with the club having accrued just 13 points from as many games in this season’s Eastern Conference, with his final match at the helm a 1-0 home defeat to New England Revolution. 

Gabriel Heinze endured a tough time at Atlanta United and just two MLS games while in charge

The 43-year-old’s final game at the helm was Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to New England Revolution

The club also beat Costa Rican side Alajuelense home and away in the CONCACAF Champions League round of 16 in April before losing 4-1 on aggregate to Philadelphia Union.

‘This was certainly not a decision we wanted to make at this point in our season, but it was the right one for the club,’ said club president Darren Eales. 

‘Gabi is a talented coach and is undeniably passionate about his craft and the sport of soccer. We are grateful to him for his service; and wish him all the best in the future.’

Eales said that a feud with the team’s star player Josef Martinez was not part of the decision, with he and technical director Carlos Bocanegra refusing to elaborate on the reasons for the firing. 

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‘Our of respect for Gabi we’re not going to air everything out,’ Bocanegra said. ‘We’ve had a number of concerning issues over the past several months and the process of evaluating them brought us to this decision today.’

Martinez has been with Venezuela over the summer for the Copa America, but has not played since his return and was ordered to train alone by Heinze earlier this month, with the 28-year-old watching from the bench against New England. 

Atlanta won the MLS Cup – the equivalent of the US’ Premier League – in 2018 and were one match away from trying to replicate that feat the following year. 

However, the team’s form divebombed in 2020 and the slight upturn so far under Heinze in terms of position was not enough to save him, with only former teammate Phil Neville’s basement side Inter Miami having scored fewer goals in the Eastern Conference so far this year, with Heinze’s assistant Rob Valentino Atlanta’s new interim head coach

Miguel Almiron helped Atlanta to the MLS Cup in 2018 – but their recent form has been awful

Only Phil Neville’s Inter Miami have scored fewer goals than Atlanta in the Eastern Conference

Heinze had previously managed Godoy Cruz, Argentinos Juniors and Velez Sarsfield in his homeland. 

His career highlight in the dugout was guiding the second of those clubs to promotion to Argentina’s top flight.

However, on achieving that goal, Heinze decided to resign rather than remain with the cash-strapped side.  

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