Atlanta United announced today that it has traded fullback Greg Garza to incoming expansion team FC Cincinnati. In return the MLS Cup champions will receive $200,000 in General Allocation Money and $250,000 in Targeted Allocation Money, Cincy’s Head Coach Alan Koch confirmed.
The 27-year-old defender joined the Five Stripes ahead of its inaugural season in 2017. He played a crucial role in the team’s cup-winning run despite missing a considerable chunk of the season due to injury. Unfortunately, much of his tenure in Atlanta was plagued by a shoulder tear suffered in the 2017 All-Star Game against Real Madrid. He only started 35 of the 68 possible matches in the last two seasons.
“Greg was a consummate professional during his two years with our club and served as a good role model for our younger players while also playing an integral role in our run to MLS Cup,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “We want to thank him for his dedication to the club and wish him well throughout the rest of his career.”
His injury history is likely one big factor in the decision to make this trade. Garza was outstanding for Atlanta United when healthy. Another reason is the fact that the club have a tremendous young talent waiting in the wings behind him in George Bello. The 16-year old academy product showed glimpses of his skills in small portions of the 2018 season. With Garza departing, the door is now wide open for him to earn a ton of playing time.
We can only thank Greg for his amazing service to the team and for being a huge part in bringing a championship to Atlanta. We wish him nothing but good fortunes in the adventures to come. Thank you, Greg.
UPDATE: Darren Eales was not happy with the way the announcement was revealed by FC Cincinnati, which was made public on MLSsoccer.com’s Expansion Draft show. Atlanta sent out its press release several minutes after the announcement.
Darren Eales tells Dukes and Bell on 92.9 The Game "we knew we were going to be losing someone today" in the expansion draft process.— Mike Conti (@MikeConti929) December 11, 2018
Says he was "really pissed off" that FC Cincinnati's manager revealed the trade before the club could acknowledge Garza.