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Atlanta United FC signs Argentine defender Fernando Meza

Meza most recently played with Liga MX side Necaxa, where he featured in 39 matches across all contests in 2019.

Atlanta United FC lost one Argentine centerback and gained another Friday.

Shortly after the club announced the sale and transfer of Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez to Club Tijuana in Liga MX, it revealed the acquisition of Fernando Meza.

Atlanta United acquired Meza from the same club where it sent Gonzalez-Pirez, but Meza never suited up or took the pitch for Club Tijuana, having just recently joined them from fellow Liga MX side Nexaca, where he featured in 39 matches across all contests this past season.

Meza, 29, was signed using targeted allocation money and will occupy an international roster spot for the Five Stripes. No other details of his contract were revealed.

“Fernando is an athletic, ball-playing center back who immediately strengthens our defense,” Atlanta 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.”

Meza has 12 years of experience playing professional soccer, playing for leagues in Mexico, Chile and his native Argentina. He came up in the academy of Argentine side San Lorenzo and made his professional debut for the club in 2008. Meza went on to play in 55 matches for the club through 2013. Atlanta United forward Hector “Tito” Villalba also came up in San Lorenzo’s academy and overlapped with Meza there in 2012 and 2013.

After his time at San Lorenzo, Meza also featured for Argentine side Olimpo and Chilean clubs in San Marcos, Palestino and Colo-Colo. With Colo-Colo, he helped the club win Chile’s Primera Division and the Supercopa de Chile. He also had a previous stint with Necaxa in the 2016-17 season.

Meza is right-footed and typically played as a centerback, but he’s also featured at left back, right back and as a defensive midfielder. He has five goals and five assists in his pro career. He also played in five matches for Argentina’s youth national teams.

The Five Stripes open training camp Monday. Meza joins Anton Walkes as recent defensive acquisitions for the club.

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