Atlanta United parts ways with coach Gabriel Heinze
Photo: Quinn Harris/USA Today Sports

Gabriel Heinze has been fired by Atlanta United after just 17 games in charge of the club.

Hired in December 2020, the Five Stripes went just 2-4-7 under the Argentine, including a current eight-match winless run, the club's longest since joining MLS in 2017.

Heinze guided Atlanta United through four games of the CONCACAF Champions League, going 2-1-1. Assistant coach Rob Valentino will take over on an interim basis.

The 43-year old was hired by the Five Stripes after Frank de Boer was fired in July 2020, with Stephen Glass having served as interim coach for the rest of that season. 

Club statement

"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 in a statement. "Gabi is a talented coach and 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."

Martinez row

Heinze had come under recent scrutiny for benching star forward Josef Martinez and had him training away from the club. Eales said this didn't play a factor in the decision to sack Heinze.

"That was two big personalities. You get that in soccer. You get that sort of clash. Josef and Gabi had a chat yesterday, they're actually training today. Josef was doing full training here at the training ground. That was not something to do with the decision we made. Obviously the timings overlapped, but that wasn't a factor."

Coaching candidates

When asked about candidates to take over the club on a full-time basis, Eales said: "we want to move quickly, but I want to be clear as well we want to get the right person. So you know there's gonna be a factor there of making sure we move as quickly as we can, but not without undue haste and I think you know we're going to cast the net wide and we're not going to narrow down any, any options."