Atlanta United have announced its replacement for the departing Leandro Gonzalez Pirez.
Club Tijuana defender and and former Argentina youth national Fernando Meza has completed a transfer to the Five Stripes and will join the club for the 2020 season. Meza was a former member of Nexaca, but was sent to Xolos today and then acquired by Atlanta in what essentially is a player swap with Gonzalez Pirez.
A native of San Martín, Argentina, Meza was a member of the San Lorenzo youth program, joining the senior team in 2008 at the age of 18 and making 8 apperances for La Albiceleste’s U-20 team in 2009. From 2012-2014, he was joined on the roster by another San Lorenzo youth standout in Atlanta winger Tito Villalba.
In 2013, Meza was sent on loan to Olimpo in his home country. and then Chilean side San Marcos in 2014 before remaining in the country and signing for Palestino on a permanent deal in 2015. He joined Nexaca in 2016 and appeared in 14 matches before returning to Chile and Colo Colo in 2017, where he was teammates with former Atlanta midfielder Carlos Carmona. Nexaca would then bring Meza back into the fold in 2019.
“Fernando is an athletic, ball-playing center back who immediately strengthens our defense,” Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement on Friday. “He brings more than a decade of top-flight experience in Argentina, Chile and Mexico and will be a veteran presence for our backline.”
Meza’s South American ties are obviously a draw for a club like Atlanta, but as an older player at 29, but that experience will only prove to be vital with youngster Miles Robinson set to play alongside him in the CB pairing and teenagers George Bello and George Campbell set to affect the first team’s backline in in the future. His Liga MX experience is also key with Champions League around the corner and the possibility of Atlanta facing a Mexican side very likely if it advances past the round of 16.
Welcome to Atlanta, Fernando!