Atletico Nacional has started the process of regrouping for a new season under recently-appointed head coach Paulo Autuori. Games that count for something won’t start up again for the Colombian club again until next year, so Autuori turned to one of his former teams - Peru’s Sporting Cristal - to provide opposition for a relatively high-profile friendly that might challenge players to show their new coach something of their best.
Perhaps surprisingly, among those players selected by Autuori for the game in Lima was Carlos Rivas.
#EquipoProfesional | ¡Así sale el Verde! #VamosVerdolaga pic.twitter.com/uWh13BAayU— Atlético Nacional (@nacionaloficial) December 1, 2018
The team provided Autuori with his first win as Atletico Nacional head coach, besting Sporting Cristal 2-1.
Per Goal.com’s report on the game, this match was more a cool-down than a warm-up for Autuori and his players. The squad will take its winter vacation starting December 7, returning January 4 to prepare for a pre-season tournament featuring Millonarios, America de Cali, and Independiente Santa Fe.
Carlos Rivas’ loan to Atletico Nacional should expire this month. He has been identified as one of several players in the squad unlikely to return for 2019, but a new coach brings a chance for a fresh start - and Rivas may need a fresh start shortly.
The New York Red Bulls are expected to announce their end-of-year roster decisions on Monday, December 3. It will be no surprise if the lightly-used, highly-paid Rivas is among the players cut from the RBNY squad. And if that is the case, he’ll have about a week left at Atletico Nacional to persuade the club to invite him back for pre-season training in January.