Heinze fired by Atlanta United after just 13 MLS games

The former Manchester United defender has been dismissed for a “variety of issues relating to the day-to-day leadership of the team”

Atlanta United have dismissed head coach Gabriel Heinze after just 13 regular-season games.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid defender posted just a 2-4-7 record in MLS while feuding with star striker Josef Martinez in the weeks leading up to his dismissal.

Atlanta have now moved on from Heinze after just a few months, pointing to a “variety of issues relating to the day-to-day leadership of the team led the club to this decision”.

What was said?

“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 Atlanta United 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.”

What went wrong?

In addition to the on-field struggles that have the club sitting 10th in the Eastern Conference, Heinze also feuded with Martinez, who has established himself as the club’s biggest star in its young history.

Martinez, who has scored 79 goals in 91 career MLS matches, has been made to train on his own in recent weeks for what Heinze called a “coach’s decision”.

The Venezuelan star did not feature in Atlanta’s loss to the New England Revolution on Saturday, with Heinze saying after the game that he did not fear for his job.

“I talk to Darren Eales and Carlos Bocanegra every day,” Heinze said just one day before his eventual dismissal. “I understand the position that they’re in. But they have always been alongside me. They’ve always seen how we do things.

“I’m not going to change their minds if something happens. I don’t need support. What I plan to do is to keep working.”

Heinze’s road to Atlanta

The former defender established himself as one of the Americas top coaches in recent years in stints with Argentinos Juniors and Velez Sarsfield.

He led the former to promotion before resigning and taking over at the latter several months later, leading them to two consecutive Copa Sudamericana qualifications.

Heinze chose to step away at the end of the 2019-20 season, eventually taking over at Atlanta United.

In doing so, he replaced Frank de Boer, who had been dismissed for also failing to lead the 2018 MLS Cup champions anywhere close to the top of MLS like his predecessor, Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino.

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About the Author: Agnes Zang