MLS SOCCER

LGP leaves Atlanta, sign new defender

Leandro Gonzalez Pirez has been sold to Xolos from Tijuana. LGP played for Atlanta for three seasons

Atlanta United announced Friday afternoon that it has transferred Leandro Gonzalez Pirez to Xolos from Tijuana.

LGP arrived to Atlanta from Argentina’s Estudiantes de La Plata in January of 2017. The Argentinian defender was a vital part of the Five Stripes early success that won three trophies (2018 MLS Cup, 2019 U.S. Open Cup and 2019 Campeones Cup).

Gonzalez Pirez played a total of 95 games in league play for Atlanta and scored three goals and added six assists. The Argentinian was also voted to the 2019 MLS All-Star Game.

What Atlanta received for LGP has not been disclosed by the club.

“We appreciate what Leandro has contributed to the club over the last three years and we wish him the best of luck in his future,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement.

Shortly afterwards, United announced the signing of a new defender, Fernando Meza, from Xolos of Tijuana.

Meza, 29 from Argentina, was signed from Tijuana using Targeted Allocation Money. He has played in Argentina, Chile and Mexico. 

An interesting tidbit is that Meza was teammates with Hector “Tito” Villalba in San Lorenzo in Argentina in 2014. 

“Fernando is an athletic, ball-playing center back who immediately strengthens our defense,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement. “He brings more than a decade of top-flight experience in Argentina, Chile and Mexico and will be a veteran presence for our backline.”

Right off the bat, Meza is the clear replacement for LGP in the central defender position and will be added to the roster once his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa is approved.

The Five Stripes are expected to make more signings in the coming days and will begin its pre-season Monday, January 11.

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