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Argentina U-20 Goalkeeper Rocco Ríos Novo Travels to the US

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Season-long loan to Atlanta United appears to be in the works

Argentina Training Session Photo by Gustavo Pagano/Getty Images

Last September we first heard reports from Argentina that prized Argentine-American goalkeeper Rocco Ríos Novo would be headed to Atlanta United to sweeten the deal as they acquired Marcelino Moreno from Lánus.

Those reports suggested that he was headed to the United States along with Moreno to play the duration of the 2s season on loan. While the timing of his arrival may have been incorrect, the possibility of the loan still happening just got a lot more likely.

The Instagram pictures included in that report show Novo preparing to fly to the United States from Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina. If he was indeed flying to Atlanta, he would have traveled on the overnight Delta flight to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport that would have arrived early this morning.

Novo seemed to confirm his move to Atlanta by sharing his excitement in a post on his Instagram story.

Currently, Atlanta United have two goalkeepers on the senior roster, with Ben Lundgaard and academy prospect Vicente Reyes likely to start the season with the 2s. Novo could either become the #3 goalkeeper for the MLS side or could compete with Lundgaard for that position with Novo and Reyes platooning for the 2s.

With Brad Guzan set to start the season as Atlanta’s starting goalkeeper at 36 years old and Alec Kann returning to the club as a 30-year-old backup keeper, Carlos Bocanegra seems to be looking toward the future at this position with a young and promising player.

At just 18 years old, Novo brings an abundance of international experience with him to Atlanta. He was a regular starter for Argentina with the U-15 and U-17 Youth National Teams at the 2019 U-17 World Cup and the U-17 South American Championships in 2019 where he tallied five clean sheets in eight matches. In addition to being a promising young player who will likely be eligible for a U-22 roster designation, Novo will not take up an international slot since he was born in Los Angeles, CA, and has American citizenship.

Novo is reportedly heading to Atlanta on a free loan from Lánus for the 2021 season with an option to buy 80% of his rights for $3 million.

If Atlanta United decides to pick up the purchase option for Novo’s rights, the team will be set with a young and talented group of players in goal with Vicente Reyes and Justin Garces both projected as likely Homegrown Signings in 2022. All three of those players have extensive experience with their youth national team programs and could create an exciting competition for the goalkeeping position in future preseason camps.