4. Hector Villalba
After 15 consecutive starts and 17 consecutive appearances, Hector Villalba missed Sunday’s match against Chicago. Villalba picked up an injury at his first camp with the Paraguayan national team. The injury was never fully disclosed, so the extent of the injury is not known. It seems like it’s just a knock, but Villalba missed Sunday’s match anyway.
So the question now remains: will he be back this weekend against Toronto? My guess is yes. Again, the injury doesn’t appear to be serious, and since this weekend’s match is so important, I think Villalba will be back on the pitch. We will have to see what his impact will be and whether or not his injury will slow him down.
After an extremely slow start to the season — two goals and two assists in first 12 appearances — Villalba has since found a good run of form. In that span of 15 consecutive starts, Villalba scored five goals and logged seven assists. In fact, despite battling injuries, he is putting together an efficient season. Last year, he scored a goal or an assist every 115 minutes; this year, he’s scored a goal or assist every 108 minutes.
Keep in mind, Villalba has a history with Toronto and BMO Field. He notched a brace in that match last April and has logged an assist in each game against Toronto at Mercedes Benz Stadium since. He seems to play well against the Reds. Atlanta will need that production in order to win a trophy this weekend.