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Carlos Rivas on verge of move from New York Red Bulls to Atlético Nacional

Mar 10, 2018; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls forward Carlos Rivas (11) celebrates his goal against the Portland Timbers during the second half at Red Bull Arena. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

After his Major League Soccer career never truly took off, it appears Carlos Rivas is set to return to his native Colombia.

The maligned New York Red Bulls attacker has arrived in Medellin for a physical ahead of a move to Atlético Nacional, according to a post on the Colombian club’s official Twitter account. A source with knowledge of the situation said the paperwork isn’t done, but Rivas would join the Colombian powerhouse on a one-year loan with an option to buy.

An official announcement could be made as early as Monday.

Rivas, 24, joined the Red Bulls in the blockbuster trade that sent then-captain Sacha Kljestan to Orlando City SC on Jan. 3.

He scored two goals in just five appearances this season, most recently coming off the bench for the final seven minutes of a 0-0 draw with the Philadelphia Union May 26. Rivas spent most of his time in New York competing with Red Bulls II in the second-tier United Soccer League. 

Rivas joined Orlando on Jan. 26, 2015 as a Designated Player, but managed just eight goals and 13 assists in 78 league games, failing to come close to the same scoring prowess he had at Deportivo Cali when he struck for 13 goals in 36 appearances.

The Red Bulls will likely be in the market for depth on the attacking side, as well as at outside back in the upcoming transfer window. Sporting director Denis Hamlett said that search could be within the Red Bulls organization as well as outside.

“We feel we’re in a good position, we’re going to be very picky to make sure the right player we bring in, or two, makes sense in terms of short-term and long-term,” Hamlett said. “I want to make sure we make the right decision. We have a scouting team and we’re constantly making sure we identify the right guys and if it makes sense on both sides of the coin then we’ll make sure we bring that player in.”

Hamlett also said the club is actively searching for an assistant coach with Chris Armas moving to head coach on Friday. CJ Brown, an assistant under Jason Kreis at New York City FC and Orlando and a former teammate of Armas at Chicago, is a possibility.

“We’re in the process of bringing in another coach to make sure we compliment the staff, because I know it’s important. There’s a lot that goes into that, so I want to make sure he’s well equipped for that,” Hamlett said. “We’re in the process, and hopefully we’ll have an announcement soon.”

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