Saturday afternoon, Atlanta United entered a playoff match against New England without starter Miles Robinson in the lineup. In his place was Michael Parkhurst. Atlanta was able to reign victorious on the day, taking a 1-0 win, but the team also lost Parkhurst to a dislocated shoulder.
With more than 90 minutes played in the match, Parkhurst collided with a New England player in Cristian Penilla while going for the ball and was seen tumbling to the ground while grasping his left arm. He had to be tended to by the training staff and was helped off the field.
Upon his arrival on the sideline, Parkhurst and Atlanta's staff attempted to pop the arm back into place, but the move was unsuccessful. The medical staff could not get his arm to remain where it was supposed to, and Parkhurst left the stadium an ambulance.
Parkhurst was ultimately replaced by Jeff Larentowicz for the remainder of the game. According to manager/head coach Frank de Boer, there is a possibility that Parkhurst will be out of commission for two weeks.
“The shoulder popped out and dislocated, but the worst thing is it wouldn’t go back in,” de Boer said to reporters following the game. “So he was still in the locker room with his shoulder out, and he had a lot of pain. He went in the ambulance with his shoulder still out, so you can imagine how painful that is.”
This puts extra emphasis on Atlanta's depth and will likely change the plan heading into Thursday's match against either the Philadelphia Union or the New York Red Bulls. Those two teams will match up on Sunday.
Michael Parkhurst is on the field and being treated by team medical staff after this body-to-body contact. pic.twitter.com/wcICY8sax6— FOX Sports South (@FOXSportsSouth) October 19, 2019
"It's not good anytime you see a player go down, but when you watch your captain, especially after the performance he put in filling in for the supposed starter in Miles Robinson who picks up an injury, now you have question marks," Atlanta United's color commentator Daniel Gargan said following the match. "Do you have to rush back Miles Robinson, and where is Parkhurst? All of these things now take on a different storyline, and a different part of your approach heading into a big game on Thursday."
As of Saturday afternoon, the options to start if Parkhurst and Robinson are unable to suit up will be Leandro González-Pírez, Franco Escobar, and Florentin Pogba. All three are center backs and can take care of business when needed.