Atlanta United signed Leandro González Pirez from Club Estudiantes de La Plata on Jan. 26, 2017 as a Discovery Signing, utilizing Targeted Allocation Money. A staple since joining the team, Gonzalez Pirez has finished fourth in MLS Defender of the Year voting in back-to-back seasons. He started 32 games at center back in his first MLS season in 2017, forming a partnership with Michael Parkhurst that anchored a defense that allowed the fourth fewest goals in MLS in 2017.
He followed that up with another stellar season anchoring Atlanta United’s backline in 2018. The Argentine defender played and started 32 matches during the regular season. He also started all five of Atlanta United’s MLS Cup Playoff matches and helped the team keep three clean sheets, including a 2-0 win in the 2018 MLS Cup Final against Portland. González Pirez also captained the side in the US Open Cup during 2018. The Buenos Aires native has played domestically for River Plate, Tigre and Estudiantes while making loan stops with Arsenal de Sarandí and Belgian Pro League club Gent. Pirez began his career with his hometown club River Plate at the youth level and made his senior team debut in 2011 at 19 years old. He has also played with the Argentina Youth National Team at the U-17, U-20 and U-22 levels.
2018 (Atlanta United): Finished fourth in MLS Defender of the Year voting for the second consecutive year. González Pirez made 32 starts at center back in 2018. He scored one goal, on the road against Orlando City on August 24. The Argentine also added two assists on the season against Colorado (9/15) and New England (10/6). He led the team in touches and tackles won. Earned two MLS Team of the Week honors. MLS Cup Playoffs: Started and played all 90 minutes in Atlanta United’s MLS Cup run. Anchored a defense that produced three clean sheets and allowed only two goals during the playoffs, and none from the run of play. US Open Cup: Captained the team in both Open Cup matches during the 2018 season.
2017 (Atlanta United): Started 32 games at center back. Recorded one goal and three assists. Scored the first goal in Mercedes-Benz Stadium history in 3-0 win over FC Dallas on Sept. 10. Led the league with 98 interceptions. Led team in recoveries and tackles. Named to MLS Team of the Week in Week 27. MLS Cup Playoffs: Played all 120 minutes against Columbus on Oct. 26. US Open Cup: Played 90 minutes and captained the squad against Miami FC on June 28.
2016/2017 (Estudiantes): Pirez started the first three games of the 2016-17 season, playing all 90 minutes in three consecutive wins for Estudiantes.
2016 (Estudiantes): Pirez transferred to Estudiantes La Plata ahead of the 2016 season and made 10 appearances. He helped lead them to a second place finish in the league table, which qualified the club for a spot in the 2017 Copa Libertadores group stage. Pirez assisted the final goal in a 3-1 win over Temperley (April 2).
2015 (Tigre): Pirez joined Tigre on a free transfer for the 2015 season and immediately became a vital member of the Matadores’ backline, starting in 29 of the club’s 30 matches while contributing two goals. Each goal opened the scoring in consecutive wins against Estudiantes (April 14) and CA Huracán (April 18).
2013/2014 (Arsenal de Sarandí): Pirez returned to Argentina on loan with Arsenal de Sarandí in February 2014. There he made 18 total appearances, 13 in league play and five in the 2014 Copa Libertadores where Arsenal reached the quarterfinals of the knockout stage. Pirez recorded his first professional assist against Racing Club on Feb. 23.
2013/2014 (Gent): Pirez was loaned to Belgian side Gent where he made eight appearances. He started seven games in the Belgian Pro League and one start in the Belgian Cup.
2012/2013 (River Plate): Pirez made 24 appearances between the Torneo Final and Inicial campaigns. He scored his first professional goal against Racing Club (April 7).
2011/2012 (River Plate): Following River Plate’s relegation, Pirez made six appearances, five starts, in Primera B.
2010/2011 (River Plate): Pirez made five appearances. He made his professional debut against Newell’s on March 26, 2011. Pirez made his first start against San Lorenzo on May 22.
INTERNATIONAL: Pirez has played at the U-17, U-20 and U-22 levels of the Argentina Youth National Team. He started all four matches in the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria and scored against Colombia in a 2-3 loss in the round of 16 (Nov. 4). Pirez represented Argentina in the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia where he started all five matches. Later in 2011 Pirez played with the U-22’s in the Pan American games where he made four starts and helped Argentina reach the finals and earn a silver medal. He also played in the 2011 South American U-20 Championship in Peru where Argentina finished in third place.