Atlanta United announced today it has acquired defender Greg Garza from Tijuana on a season-long loan. In a preceding move, Atlanta acquired Garza’s Discovery Priority from Columbus Crew SC in exchange for a conditional second round selection in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.
“Greg has represented the United States on several occasions and we’re thrilled to be able to add a player of his quality,” Atlanta United President Darren Eales said. “In addition to his caps at the international level, Greg has experienced top-level competition in Liga MX. To continue to attract players with his international background is a great sign for our club.”
Garza, 25, was born in Grapevine, Texas but has spent the majority of his soccer career abroad, with youth stints in academies at Sao Paulo at Sporting Lisbon. He then signed with Tijuana of Liga MX on Dec. 21, 2011 and quickly became a key member of the Xolos lineup. Garza has combined to make 84 career appearances for Tijuana, including six appearances in CONCACAF Champions League and four appearances in Copa Libertadores.
“Greg is a quality left back who’s profile fits in nicely with our style of play,” technical director Carlos Bocanegra said. “He has the ability to get up-and-down the line to contribute to both sides of the ball, and his experience in Mexico, along with the U.S. National Team, brings another quality dimension to our team.”
Garza’s rise to prominence for Tijuana began during the 2012-13 season. While the left back only appeared in six games during the Liga MX Apertura, he made his difference in the postseason, scoring an 86th minute goal against Monterrey on Nov. 15, 2012 to pick up a 1-0 road win during the first leg of quarterfinals. Tijuana went onto beat Monterrey 2-1 on aggregate, en route to beating Toluca in the championship, claiming Tijuana’s first-ever title. Garza went on to appear in 49 games over the next two seasons, including 37 starts, becoming a permanent starter during the 2014-15 season. He was sent on loan the following season to fellow Liga MX side, Atlas, before returning to Tijuana this year.
Internationally, Garza has been capped for the United States Men’s National Team nine times, most recently during the 2015 Gold Cup during a 1-0 win in group stage against Haiti. He made his National Team debut when he entered as a substitute in a friendly against the Czech Republic on Sept. 3, 2014. Garza made a total of five appearances, three starts, in 2014 for the USMNT, leading him to inclusion in the 2015 Gold Cup roster.