He’s back to finish the job. Atlanta United announced that it has signed goalkeeper Rocco Rios Novo to a second short-term contract agreement from ATL UTD 2 ahead of tonight’s Concacaf Champions League second leg against Alajuelense.
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) April 13, 2021
The 18-year-old shot-stopper was an unexpected hero in the club’s 1-0 away leg triumph in Costa Rica last week after coming on for Brad Guzan after an unfortunate red card in the first half. The young Argentine-American on loan from Lanus made six saves en route to the clean sheet victory.
With Guzan unavailable for the return leg and Alec Kann still recovering from offseason surgery, Novo has been brought back for the second leg. According to MLS rules, the club has a total of four emergency four-day short-term agreements per reserve team player. This will be the second usage of the mechanism on Novo.
Gabriel Heinze raved over Novo’s performance after his first leg heroics and also revealed just how highly he and the club rate him. While this may be just a short-term stint for Novo at the first team level, his prospects for a more permanent spot in the future seem very high. If he can replicate his first leg performance, that can only speed up the process.