Greg Garza let it be known he wanted to make a move to Major League Soccer, and it didn't take very long at all for a team to step up and make that desire a reality.
Atlanta United has acquired the MLS rights to Garza and is finalizing a loan move from Club Tijuana for the 2017 season, sources have confirmed to Goal USA.
Atlanta successfully acquired the discovery rights to Garza via trade, paving the way for a loan deal with an option to buy. Sources tell Goal USA that Garza's MLS discovery rights were originally held by the Columbus Crew, which chose to pass on acquiring him, receiving compensation from United for Garza's rights instead.
The Texas-born left back has spent the past five seasons with Club Tijuana, but a hip injury that gradually grew worse in 2015 and eventually required surgery set him back over the past two years. Now healthy, Garza could play his way back into the wide-open left back competition with the U.S. national team. In 2014, Garza was in the midst of a breakout year, starting regularly for the Xolos while also positioning himself as a starter at left back for the U.S. That was before his form began to suffer as he battled a hip ailment that worsened and eventually led to surgery.
Garza, 25, will join an Atlanta defense already shaping up to be a respectable one, featuring veterans Michael Parkhurst and Zach Loyd. Sources tell Goal USA that Atlanta United is actively shopping for a top-level central defender to partner with Parkhurst. That, along with U.S. national team goalkeeper Brad Guzan anticipated move to Atlanta, could help the expansion club boast one of the league's tougher defenses right out of the gate.
Garza's technical quality and ability to get forward should make him a real threat on the left flank at a position regarded as one of the weaker ones in MLS. With Atlanta coach Gerardo Martino expected to deploy an attack-minded style of play, Garza could be a key contributor as an attacking left back.