After only 13 regular-season games, Atlanta United fired head coach Gabriel Heinze.
In the weeks leading up to his departure, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid defender had a 2-4-7 record in MLS while clashing with star striker Josef Martinez.
After only a few months, Atlanta has decided to part ways with Heinze, citing a “number of difficulties connected to the team’s day-to-day leadership that led the club to this conclusion.”
“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.”
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.”
During his time with Argentinos Juniors and Velez Sarsfield, the former defender established himself as one of the best coaches in the Americas.
He promoted the former before resigning and taking over at the latter a few months later when he led them to two consecutive Copa Sudamericana qualifying.
Heinze decided to leave at the end of the 2019-20 season and eventually took over at Atlanta United.
He took over for Frank de Boer, who was fired for failing to guide the 2018 MLS Cup champions anywhere near the top of the league like his predecessor, Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino.