It’s never easy to say goodbye to players who have impacted their team and its fans. As Atlanta United fans, we bid farewell to defender Franco Escobar on February 8, 2021, and it feels incredibly emotional. We knew the possibility of this happening was likely, but it didn’t make it any easier. It appears he no longer has a place in the club, though this does not discredit his achievements with the club in the last three years.
Watching Franco Escobar was always a rollercoaster ride of emotions. There were moments where we adored him, while there were moments when we wondered how he continued to get minutes- he was that type of player. Even though you never knew what you would get from Escobar, there were elements in his game that he always brought: passion, aggression, and hard work. Franco put everything he had into every game he played. He never slowed down and made it frustrating to watch because he would pick up unnecessary yellow cards because of his over-aggression. He was unpredictable, but he was a hell of a game-changer. When Franco had a great game, it’s almost sure that the rest of the team had a great one as well.
What is Franco Escobar’s legacy for this club? How could we ever forget the moments he brought in the playoffs. Playoff Franco captured his time with Atlanta United perfectly. A player who may be frustrating to watch, hard to contain, but a player who shows up on the big occasions. Escobar helped us win the MLS Cup, Campeones Cup, and the U.S. Open Cup. Fans will never forget his rocket goal against the Red Bulls in the first leg of the Eastern Conference final win or that famous goal against Portland that gave the club its first-ever MLS Cup title. Franco always managed to find the extra gear when the team needed it most, and that will ultimately be the legacy he leaves behind.
Franco Escobar’s departure marks an end of an era. Slowly, the 2018 squad that won the title is moving on. Truthfully, the decision to part ways with Escobar was probably not easy but a necessary change. The arrival of Machop Chol and George Bello clarifies that the club needed to move forward, and perhaps Escobar was in the way of that progress. We’re sad to let him go, but we’re excited for what the future beholds. Escobar will be a legend in the club, and his legacy will never be forgotten.