Soccer  

Atlanta transfers Franco, loans Moreno to Brazilian clubs

Atlanta United has loaned midfielder Marcelino Moreno and transferred defender Alan Franco to clubs in Brazil’s top league.

The MLS club announced Friday that Moreno is being loaned to Coritiba of Brazil’s Serie A for the 2023 season, which is set to begin in mid-April.

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Franco, meanwhile, was sold Thursday to São Paulo for an undisclosed fee, opening up an international roster slot.

In another move, Atlanta waived 32-year-old forward Dom Dwyer, who scored four goals while starting in five of 22 MLS appearances last season.

The 28-year-old Moreno, a native of Argentina, appeared in 68 games with 53 starts over three seasons with Atlanta.

He had a career-high nine goals and five assists during the 2021 season, but his playing time decreased in 2022 as he scored two goals with eight assists in 18 starts.

“We spoke with Marcelino at the end of last year and determined the best situation for both parties was to find an opportunity for him to feature more,” Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement.

Franco played in 56 MLS matches — starting all but two — over the past two seasons with United. In 2022, he led the team in minutes played (2,715) and scored his lone goal in a 3-2 victory over D.C. United on Aug. 28.

The 26-year-old Argentinian center back had seven assists for United, becoming the first Atlanta player to record three assists in one game during a 2021 match against Cincinnati.

Bocanegra said the transfer was “an opportunity that arose and was beneficial for both the club and the player.”

Also this week, Atlanta recalled midfielder Tyler Wolff from a loan to Belgian club SK Beveren that has been set to run through the end of the 2022-23 season.

Wolff will now join Atlanta for preseason training.

In addition, United terminated the contract of injury-plagued midfielder Emerson Hyndman by mutual agreement.

Atlanta United, which missed the playoffs for only the second time in its six-year history, opens the MLS regular season at home against San Jose on Feb. 25.